SPRINGDALE, Ark - The Arkansas Travelers (30-33) won the series on Tuesday afternoon by using a couple of big innings in the middle portion of the game to take the finale over the Northwest Arkansas Naturals (32-31) at Arvest Ballpark by an 11-4 final.
Trailing 2-0, the Travelers exploded for five runs in the third inning. With the bases loaded and no one out, Dario Pizzano continued his hitting ways by driving home Nelson Ward on a RBI single through the hole at second base. A batter later, Kyle Waldrop reached on a crucial fielding error by the Naturals, which allowed both Joey Wong and Chuck Taylor to score. Keury De La Cruz followed with a two-run single of his own to complete the scoring and give the visitors an early three-run lead.
The Arkansas offense, which has been relentless in this series, would put the game out of reach in the fourth as Ian Miller reached on a bunt single to leadoff the frame and then advanced to second on a walk to Wong. After Taylor flew out, Pizzano singled to load the bases and set the stage for Travelers' catcher Tyler Marlette . The free-swinging Marlette connected on a 0-1 pitch and crushed a Grand Slam off the facing of the Bud Light Home Run Porch beyond the left field wall for a 9-2 lead. The Travs would go up 11-2 in the fifth inning as Wong collected a RBI single and then eventually scored on a wild pitch.
Northwest Arkansas was the first to score in the finale as they registered a couple of runs in the second. Logan Moon led off with a single to left before advancing to third base on a single by Humberto Arteaga . Naturals' catcher Nick Dini recorded a hit by pitch to load the bases before Parker Morin plated the first run on a sacrifice fly and Carlos Diaz followed with a RBI single. The Naturals would add two more runs in the ninth as Diaz picked up another RBI single and Dini scored on a fielder's choice.
RHP Dylan Unsworth (W, 5-5) earned the win for the Travelers while RHP Corey Ray (L, 4-4) took the loss for the Naturals.
Northwest Arkansas will hit the road for 12 games in advance of the Texas League All-Star break, which is from June 26-June 28. The trip will take them to Tulsa for four (4) games (June 14-June 17) then down to North Little Rock for four (4) games against the Travs (June 18-June 21) before finishing the trip with another four (4) game stretch back in Tulsa (June 22-June 25). Following the trip, the league breaks for three (3) days for the Texas League All-Star Game on Tuesday, June 27 that will be played in Frisco, Texas. The official end of the 1st half of the Texas League season is following the games played on June 19.
Northwest Arkansas will then return home following the All-Star break with a 6-game homestand against a couple of Texas League South Division foes in the Corpus Christi Hooks (AA Astros) and the San Antonio Missions (AA Padres). The Fourth of July homestand will stretch from Thursday, June 29 through Tuesday, July 4 and will feature giveaways (Americana Jersey & Season 10 Commemorative T-shirt) on July 1 and July 2 before the GREAT AMERICAN BLAST takes center stage on July 3 and July 4. The Fireworks Spectacular on the Fourth of July will be the LARGEST in ALL of Northwest Arkansas.
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.