TULSA, Okla. - The Naturals plated six of the seven runs and used strong relief in the 7-3 win over the Tulsa Drillers in Game 3 of the Texas League North Division Championship Series on Friday night at ONEOK Field.
Northwest Arkansas' offense took off in the first inning against Tulsa right-hander, Josh Sborz . The Naturals jumped the starter for three runs on four hits in the opening inning and capitalized on a key error to grab the early lead.
After Tulsa tied the score at 3-3 in the bottom of the first inning, the Naturals bats stayed hot with three more runs in the second inning, highlighted by a two-run single by Samir Duenez . That's all the offense starter, Emilio Ogando (1-0) needed in his first career postseason start.
The 24-year old left-hander posted a streak of 11 straight batters retired and allowed just two hits over his final 5.1 innings of work to earn the winning decision in Game 3. Ogando worked 5.1 innings, allowed three runs on six hits with three strikeouts and no walks.
Left-hander, Tim Hill entered with two on and one out in the sixth inning and struck out both men faced. Hill retired all eight batters faced in his 2.2 innings of perfect relief with three strikeouts to help bridge the gap in the Naturals win.Richard Lovelady retired the side in order in the ninth inning to polish off the win.
Northwest Arkansas pounded out 12 hits in the game with Ryan O'Hearn leading the charge with a 3-for-4 game including a first inning RBI. Mauricio Ramos drove home two runs with a his 2-for-4 game and continues to add to his total as the Naturals all-time postseason hits leader with 18 postseason knocks between 2016 and 2017. Duenez finished 1-for-5 while Nicky Lopez and Humberto Arteaga each drove home a run in the 12-hit attack.
The Naturals will look to clinch the club's third straight North Division Championship on Saturday night against the Tulsa Drillers. Right-hander, Zach Lovvorn will take the mound representing Northwest Arkansas against right-hander,Yadier Alvarez for the Drillers.
Join the Voice of the Naturals, Benjamin Kelly, for a 6:45 p.m. pregame show, leading up to the 7:05 p.m. first pitch from ONEOK Field 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.