SAN ANTONIO - Northwest Arkansas dropped the opening game of a three-game series, 5-4, to the San Antonio Mission in 14-innings at Nelson Wolff Municipal Stadium on Thursday night in front of 6,617 for the home opener for the Missions.
The Missions (5-2) used a base-hit by Austin Bousfield with the bases loaded to score the final run of the night with one-out in the 14th inning to win the game off reliever, Luis Rico (0-1, 6.75).
Northwest Arkansas (2-5) plated two early runs in the first inning. Alfredo Escalera reached on an infield single and scored from first on a triple by Samir Duenez a batter later to give the Naturals a 1-0 lead. Frank Schwindel brought home Duenez from third a batter later and extended the lead to 2-0.
San Antonio evened the score at 2-2 in the second inning and took the lead in the fourth on a two-run home run by Nick Schulz to give the Missions a 4-2 lead off starter, Matt Tenuta. The home run mistake proved to be the lone mistake by the left-hander for the Naturals. Tenuta pitched 4.1 innings, allowed four runs on six hits and fanned six in his first start of the season. He did not factor in the decision.
The Naturals rallied back in the top of the seventh inning, capitalizing on mental and physical miscues by the Missions. Terrance Gore dropped a base-hit in down the right field line and moved to second base following a balk by reliever, Justin Hancock. Gore advanced to third when Jack Lopez's fly ball to center dropped off the glove of Missions' centerfielder, Alberth Martinez. Gore scored two batters later on a misplayed double-play ball by the Missions, resulting in a fielder's choice for Alfredo Escalera.
Duenez batted next and scorched a single to left center to plate Escalera from first base to tie the game at 4-4.
The Naturals used tough relief pitching to stay tied throughout the late innings. Right-hander, Reid Redman shined the brightest, working 2.2 innings of perfect relief with four strikeouts. The middle relievers kept the Missions hitless over the final six and two-third innings until the last batter of the game.
The game lasted four hours and 30 minutes, the longest game-time of the season for the Naturals. The 14-inning game is the longest in over two years.
Right-hander, Miguel Almonte (0-0, 3.38) will pitch game two of the series on Friday night against the Missions' right-hander, Enyel De Los Santos (0-0, 1.50) at Nelson Wolff Municipal Stadium.
Join Benjamin Kelly with a 6:45 Indigo Sky Casino Pregame Show leading up to first pitch on the sister-station of the flagship for the Naturals, AM-1590, the Ticket-2.
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.