RockHounds 5, NW Arkansas Naturals 3
Sunday, May 5, 2019
Arvest Ballpark Springdale, AR
What a remarkable 21 hours it has been for the RockHounds' Chase Calabuig.
Saturday night, the left fielder was injured while making a brilliant catch down the line and had to exit the game. Not only was he back in the lineup Sunday afternoon, he had the game-winning, two-run single with two out in the top of the ninth as the RockHounds broke a 3-3 tie to defeat the Northwest Arkansas Naturals, 5-3, at Arvest Ballpark in Springdale, Arkansas.
The game-winning rally started with two out and the bases empty when Edwin Diaz took a 1-2 pitch from Yunior Marte back up the middle. Kevin Merrell then coaxed a walk on a 3-2 pitch from Marte and Dairon Blanco drew a base on balls (against Franco Terrero) to load the bases. Calabuig ripped a 3-1 pitch into center, scoring Diaz and Merrell and Kyle Finnegan closed the game in the last of the ninth.
The RockHounds, after dropping three games at Tulsa, won for the second straight time in the series in Springdale and are now 5-1 against the Naturals. The 'Hounds also gained a game on division-leading Frisco (see below).
Northwest Arkansas snapped Parker Dunshee's scoreless streak at 16⅓ innings, scoring twice in the second (see below) before the 'Hounds rallied back, taking advantage of two Naturals errors for a 3-2 lead in the fourth. Two walks and the first of the errors loaded the bases with two out and Emmanuel Rivera's throwing error allowed the first run to score. Merrell then sent a bouncer to second base and hustled down the line, beating the throw. Jonah Heim scored easily from third on the play and Nate Mondou came all the way in from second on what was basically an infield single (the two-hopper barely reached the outfield grass) as the 'Hounds took a 3-2 lead.
Back-to-back two-out singles from Gabriel Cancel and Rivera in the eighth tied the game. Naturals manager Darryl Kennedy sent Cancel on a 1-2 pitch from Trey McNutt and Rivera sent a sharp single to center. The aggressive base-running paid off as Cancel scored with relative ease to tie the game at 3-3 and set the stage for Calabuig's (perhaps unlikely) heroics.
The Naturals have committed nine errors in the first two games of the series (three on Sunday after a franchise record SIX miscues Saturday night).
The Monday night pitching match-up features starters with a COMBINED three innings at the Double-A level. Left-hander J.C. Cloney makes his AA debut with Northwest Arkansas (1-1, 2.21 in six games with Advanced-A Wilmington) and Daulton Jefferies makes his second start after going 3.0 innings in his RockHounds debut. Daulton is making his 15th career start overall after battling injuries in his first three seasons after being selected by Oakland in the supplemental (Competitive Balance A) round of the 2016 draft (University of California).
Springfield won for the just the second time in 15 road games, breaking a tie in the top of the ninth to defeat Frisco, 8-6. The RoughRiders (18-12) now lead the RockHounds (16-13) by just a game-and-a-half (the clubs meet at Security Bank Ballpark beginning next Thursday). Corpus Christi (14-15) fell at Tulsa, 9-8, and remains three-and-a-half back with Amarillo (with a win over North Division leader Arkansas at home) drawing to within five games.
Another Reason "The Book" Is NOT Available in Stores
"The Book" says when pitchers get ahead of hitters in the count (especially with two strikes), good things happen. SO much for "The Book."
Parker Dunshee had two-strike counts on the first four batters in the second. After an inning-opening bounce out to first base (Meibrys Valoria), Travis Jones singled up the middle on an 0-2 … Anderson Miller did the same on a 1-2 … and Nate Esposito (in his first game of the season) was hit on a 1-2 pitch to load the bases. From there an uncharacteristic walk (with the bases full) and a wild pitch brought home the first runs the RockHounds' right-hander had allowed in 16⅓ innings.
Despite the "book-defying" inning, Parker has allowed just three runs in 27⅓ in his last four starts, a 0.99 ERA. For the season, Oakland's # 18 prospect (MLB.com) is 2-2, with a 1.97 ERA in six starts.
Infielder Brallan Perez has been reassigned to the RockHounds from the (Short-A) Vermont roster and pitcher James Naile has been assigned to the Lake Monsters' roster.
Monday, May 6 vs. NW Arkansas Naturals
Arvest Ballpark Springdale, Arkansas
First pitch 7:05 p.m.
- Third of a four-game series and seventh of an eight-game (seven-day) road trip
- Radio: NewsTalk 550 with Bob Hards ... airtime 7:00 p.m.
NWA: J.C. Cloney (LH, 1-1, 2.21 in six games with Advanced-A Wilmington)
RH: Daulton Jefferies (RH, 0-0, 6.00, in one start)
Next at Security Bank Ballpark:
The RockHounds host the Frisco RoughRiders in a "four-day weekend" at Rocky Town, May 9-12:
Thirsty Thursday (May 9) ... RockHounds Beach Towels (Friday, May 10)
Fireworks (Saturday, May 11) ... Family Day (Sunday, May 12 at 2:00 p.m.)
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.