TULSA, Okla. - For the third straight season, Northwest Arkansas is headed to the postseason, after a 4-1 win over the Tulsa Drillers at ONEOK Field in-front of a sold out crowd on Saturday night. The Naturals complete the first five-game sweep in Tulsa since 2006.
The victory came behind a strong pitching performance by 23-year old left-hander, Emilio Ogando (4-4, 3.55) and middle-inning offense provided by extra-base hits. Ogando, who made just his ninth start in Double-A, worked 7.0 innings of one-run baseball with four strikeouts and scattered six hits en route to the triumph over Tulsa.
Northwest Arkansas (37-31) found a way to cash in during the sixth inning after Tulsa starter, Andrew Sopko , worked in-and-out of threats throughout his 5.0 innings for the Drillers. The Naturals broke through in sixth inning against reliever, Shea Spitzbarth (0-2, 3.18) with Alfredo Escalera singling to catalyze the offense. The next batter, Humberto Arteaga tripled to straight away center to plate Escalera to break the scoreless stalemate.
Arteaga did not stay at third long; Donnie Dewees hit a sacrifice fly to score Arteaga to double up the Naturals lead to 2-0 over Tulsa.
In the seventh inning, Northwest Arkansas extended the lead to a 4-0. Corey Toups singled and advanced to second on a balk byEdward Paredes and Samir Duenez brought him on with an opposite-field, two-run home run to leftfield, just creeping over the 330-foot marker for his ninth home run of the season. Duenez drove him RBIs number 41 and 42 on the swing.
Right-hander, Andrew Edwards , entered in the eighth inning and closed the door over the final six outs to notch his first save of the season. Edwards got Jacob Scavuzzo to fly out to left field for the final out of the game to cinch the victory, the sweep and the First Half North Division title.
The Naturals continue the current road trip with a four-game series against the Arkansas Travelers (Seattle Mariners) with a 2:10 p.m. first pitch on Father's Day, Sunday, June 18 at Dickey-Stephens Park. Right-hander, Corey Ray (4-4, 4.39) takes the hill against right-hander, Dylan Unsworth (5-5, 4.23) countering for the Travelers.
Join the Voice of the Naturals, Benjamin Kelly, for a 1:50 p.m. pregame show, leading up to first pitch on the flagship station of the Naturals, 92.1-FM, the Ticket.
Follow the Northwest Arkansas Naturals on Facebook and Twitter @NWANaturals all throughout the year by using the hashtag #NaturalPastime and #CrowntoCrown for all of our up-to-date information on Season 10 of Naturals baseball.
The Northwest Arkansas Naturals are the Double-A Texas League Affiliate of the Kansas City Royals. The Naturals play at state-of-the-art Arvest Ballpark in Springdale, Ark. For more information, including statistics, ticket options, and more, please visit NWANaturals.com, and follow us on Twitter @NWANaturals and Facebook.com/Naturals.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.