NORTH LITTLE ROCK
- Leftfielder Nate Sutton made the game-saving catch to start a double play securing the Arkansas Travelers' 5-4 victory over the Midland RockHounds on Thursday night at Citibank Ballpark. Sutton robbed Midland second baseman Adrian Cardenas with a sliding catch of a line drive with the bases loaded, then doubled off the winning run at second base.
With severe storms in the Midland/Odessa region all night long, the game included heavy wind with gusts up to 50 miles an hour.
The Travelers received stellar relief pitching after starter Jordan Walden left the game in the second inning with a sore right foot. Righthander Bryan Rembisz (1-0) was the first pitcher out of the bullpen and tossed three shutout innings for the victory in his double-A debut. Righty Marco Albano shutout the Hounds over two innings before giving way to lefthander Barret Browning for one inning. Righthander David Herndon earned the save (1) with 1.1 innings of scoreless pitching.
Arkansas second baseman Ryan Mount (1) and first baseman Mark Trumbo (2) each hit a home run to account for all of the team's scoring. With Midland leading 4-0 in the fourth inning, Mount hit a three-run shot to right field. Trumbo's two-run homer to center in the fifth inning put the Travs up for good. Both home runs were hit off Midland righty Jared Fernandez (1-1) who allowed five runs (four earned) on six base hits and four walks in five innings to take the loss.
All of Midland offense came in the second inning after Walden recorded two outs. Corey Brown hit a single then Walden walked Yung Chi Chen and hit Corey Wimberly to load the bases. Josh Horton knocked in two runs with a dribbling grounder along the first base line. When Trumbo fed Walden for the play at first base, the pitcher's foot was off the bag allowing Horton to reach on a single. Walden was removed for precautionary reasons after walking Chris Carter.
Rembisz, who was called up from extended spring training this morning, took over for Walden and allowed RBI singles by Tommy Everidge and Cardenas helping the Hounds build the 4-0 lead.
The score remained the same through the rest of the game, but both teams came close to punching in runs in the ninth. Arkansas shortstop Hainley Statia lined a one-out single which was misplayed in centerfield by Brown allowing Statia to reach third base. Coby Smith followed with a slow grounder that died along the first-base line, and when the throw from Midland pitcher Sam Demel hit Smith he was called out for running inside the baseline. Statia was stranded at third base when Sutton bounced out.
Wimberly began Midland's half of the ninth with a single then was bunted to second by Horton. Stiff winds blowing in from right field caused Chris Carter's pop fly to right field to land on the infield dirt for a base hit which put Midland's winning run on base. Herndon walked Everidge to load the bases bringing Cardenas to the plate. He whacked the first pitch on a low liner to left field, but Sutton made a sliding catch and threw to second base catching Carter for the game-ending double play.
Time of game was 2:57 and the paid attendance on Midland's home opener was 4,440.
The Travs and Hounds return to the park on Friday with Travs righty Amalio Diaz (0-1, 3.00 ERA) pitching against Midland righty Travis Banwart (0-0, 0.00).
NOTE: Ben Johnson was placed on the temporary inactive list on Wednesday and righthanded pitcher Jeremy Hill was transferred to Salt Lake. The Travs received outfielder Chris Fox from extended spring training.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.