TULSA, Okla. - The Naturals used an eight-run fourth inning highlighted by a three-run home run by Corey Toups to doom the Drillers, 9-6, in a pivotal series opening win at ONEOK Field on Wednesday night. The victory vaults the Naturals into sole possession of First Place in the Texas League North Division with six game remaining in the first half of play.
Northwest Arkansas (33-31) sent 11 men to the plate in the fourth inning which started with a Toups double to left field. Nick Dini augmented an already 1-0 lead to 3-0 with a two-run, bases-loaded single. Alfredo Escalera tacked on an infield, RBI single, Dini eventually scored on a wild pitch before Toups cleaned the bags with one swing to highlight the inning.
Left-hander, Foster Griffin (3-1, 2.55) allowed just one earned run over his 5.2 innings of work. The 21-year old punched out four hitters and walked two throwing 100 pitches on the night to earn his second straight winning decision. Right-hander, Ashton Goudeau bridged the gap to backend of the bullpen with 2.2 innings of two-run relief.
All-star reliever, Jake Newberry notched the final two outs to earn his eighth save of the season.
Toups finished 2-for-4 on the night with three runs batted in while Humberto Arteaga notched his team-leading 21st multiple-hit night of the season with his first four-hit game of the year. The all-star shortstop doubled twice giving him 10 on the season.
Northwest Arkansas continues the series with the Tulsa Drillers (32-32) with a double-header on Thursday night from ONEOK Field. Game one is slated for a 5:30 p.m. first pitch with the second seven-inning game of the twin bill to follow approximately 30 minutes after the conclusion of the opener.
Join the Voice of the Naturals, Benjamin Kelly, for a 5:30 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.