SPRINGDALE, Ark - Northwest Arkansas was looking to salvage the series finale on Tuesday morning and did just that as LHP Foster Griffin (W, 1-0) delivered a gem and the Naturals (2-4) shutout the San Antonio Missions (4-2) by the score of 4-0.
Griffin, 22, was making his second start of the 2018 season after getting the ball on Opening Night. The tall left-hander was brilliant in his second start as he kept the Missions at bay the entire game. The former first round draft pick in 2014 scattered five hits through 6.0 scoreless innings and struck out five on the afternoon while picking up his first win of the year. Griffin, the Royals' 9th ranked prospect according to MLB.com, outdueled RHP Cal Quantrill (L, 0-1) of the Missions. Quantrill is a highly regarded prospect in his own right as the first round pick out of Stanford in 2016 ranks in the top 40 across all of baseball. The Missions right-hander was good as he struck out seven through 6.0 innings but gave up a run that proved the difference.
Locked in a scoreless game in the fourth, the Naturals finally broke through. With Duenez at second and two outs, Donnie Dewees delivered a clutch single through the hole on the left side of the infield to plate the first run of the game.
The score would remain 1-0 until the seventh as both starting pitchers kept both offenses in check. In the seventh, Alex Liddi would connect on a 1-2 pitch against San Antonio reliever LHP Dillon Overton for a long solo home run to give the Naturals a two-run cushion. Northwest Arkansas would go on to complete the scoring with a two-run double by Corey Toups in the eighth.
The Naturals bullpen combination of RHP Pedro Fernandez (H, 1), RHP Franco Terrero (H, 1) and RHP Jake Newberry slammed the door on any hopes of a Missions comeback with three perfect innings to end the game securing the finale victory.
Today's game concluded the Naturals first homestand of the regular season. Northwest Arkansas will now hit the road for the first time this year as they embark on a six (6) game road trip to the Texas League South Division starting in Corpus Christi on Thursday night. They'll face the Hooks for three (3) games before taking on the Missions for the final three (3) games of the trip. Northwest Arkansas will then return to Arvest Ballpark on Thursday, April 19 for a 2-game set against the Tulsa Drillers.
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.