SPRINGDALE, Ark. - Aaron Brooks threw a three-hit, complete game shutout as the Northwest Arkansas Naturals blanked the Arkansas Travelers 7-0 on Wednesday night at Arvest Ballpark. The Naturals win three-game series and are one game ahead of the Travelers in the Texas League North Division standings.
Brooks didn't allow a hit until two outs in the sixth inning. Over the course of 96 pitches, Brooks struck out five batters and faced the minimum in six of his nine innings of work while picking up his fifth Double-A victory.
The Naturals got on the board in the third inning with an Orlando Calixte sacrifice fly that scored Whit Merrifield. Merrifield led off the inning with a walk and advanced to third on a Juan Graterol single.
Graterol was hit by a Elvin Ramirez pitch with the bases loaded in the sixth inning for Northwest Arkansas' second run. A leadoff walk issued to Matt Fields began the inning, with Fields advancing to second on a single and third on a walk.
The Naturals exploded for five runs in the seventh inning, with runs scoring on a two-run single by Merrifield, RBI singles from Graterol and Cheslor Cuthbert and a wild pitch.
Graterol went three-for-three with three singles and two RBI to lead the Naturals offense. Cuthbert and Brian Fletcher each went two-for-five, with Fletcher's eighth inning double serving as the Naturals lone extra-base hit.
Lay Batista was charged with his seventh loss of the season after being activated from the Disabled List earlier in the day. Batista allowed one run on three hits with two walks and five strikeouts in four innings.
The Naturals begin a seven-game roadtrip tomorrow with the first of four against the Springfield Cardinals. Kyle Zimmer (1-0, 0.00 ERA) will start for the Naturals. Seth Blair (3-7, 4.89 ERA) is scheduled to start the opener for Springfield.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.