SPRINGDALE, Ark - Northwest Arkansas flexed their muscle on Saturday night as the Naturals (69-69) continued their dominance of their in-state rivals by defeating the Arkansas Travelers (70-67) by an 8-1 final to improve to 19-7 on the season against the Travs. Jon Perrin (W, 1-2) picked up his first win as a Natural while the offense backed him with 13 hits to go along with two homers.
Perrin, recorded his fifth start and authored his best outing of the season. The 25-year-old right-hander tossed 5.2 innings of scoreless baseball where he allowed just three hits, a walk, and struck out seven. The strong effort earned him his first victory with Northwest Arkansas since being acquired by the Kansas City Royals in a trade with the Milwaukee Brewers on August 7.
The offense gave him the lead in the second as Kelvin Gutierrez rifled a line drive, solo home run into the visitor's bullpen.
The lead for Northwest Arkansas would grow to 3-0 after the third and then 6-0 after the fourth. Samir Duenez brought in both of the runs for the Naturals in the third with a two-out, two-run single. Then in the fourth, a walk and a single set the table for a RBI double by Xavier Fernandez before Nick Heath and Erick Mejia capped the inning with RBIs on a pair of sacrifice flies.
The Naturals would put the game out of reach with two more tallies in the sixth. Anderson Miller led off the frame with a solo home run, his 13th on the year, to extend the lead to 7-0. Fernandez followed with his second double of the game, advanced to third on a single by Mejia, and then scored on another clutch two-out single by Duenez for the 8-0 advantage.
Arkansas scored a late run in the eighth on a sacrifice fly by Chris Mariscal but it would be too little too late in the 8-1 defeat.
Anthony Misiewicz (L, 3-12) took the loss as he gave up all eight runs on nine hits in his 5.0 innings of work. Following Perrin's start, the Naturals' bullpen trio of Gabe Speier , Walker Sheller and Andres Machado combined for 3.1 innings of one-run ball.
The Naturals received production throughout their batting order. Fernandez led the way by going 4-for-4 with a couple of doubles while Gutierrez and Miller both homered and Duenez picked up a couple of hits en route to a three RBI night.
Northwest Arkansas will continue their final series against the Arkansas Travelers, the Double-A Affiliate of the Seattle Mariners, with Game 2 of this final 3-game set tomorrow night - Sunday, September 2 - with first pitch scheduled for 6:05 p.m. Gates will open at Arvest Ballpark at 5:00 p.m. for a Labor Day Weekend Post-Game Fireworks Spectacular presented by Tyson Foods, Inc. on Kids Eat FREE Family Sunday featuring Mercy Kids Run the Bases following the FINAL fireworks show. The Naturals will send right-hander Scott Blewett (8-6, 4.89 ERA) to the mound to square off against right-hander Chris Mazza (1-0, 1.35 ERA) of the Travelers. Catch all of the live play-by-play action with the Voice of the Naturals Benjamin Kelly on KQSM - 92.1 The Ticket starting at 5:45 p.m. for the Indigo Sky Casino Pregame Show leading up to first pitch against the in-state rivals.
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 the 2018 season 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.