Springdale, AR - The Springfield Cardinals and Northwest Arkansas Naturals split the doubleheader on Saturday, played before 4,733 fans at Arvest Ballpark in Springdale, Arkansas. The Cardinals cruised to the 8-2 victory in the first seven-inning game, but the Naturals responded with a 6-1 win in Game 2. The second game included a rain delay of an hour and 13 minutes in the bottom of the fifth inning.
Game 1: Cardinals 8 @ Naturals 2 - 7 innings
The Cardinals (33-34) started the first game in a powerful way against RHP Andy Ferguson (L, 101), swatting two home runs in the top of the first inning. After LF Mike O'Neill worked a walk to start the game, CF James Ramsey pulled a two-run shot over the right field wall to start the scoring. One out later, DH Chris Swauger launched a solo home run to straightaway center, increasing the early lead to 3-0.
LHP Nick Greenwood (W, 2-4) kept the Cardinals lead intact by retiring the first 11 batters that he faced, and not allowing a base hit until two-thirds of the way through the fifth.
After 1B Xavier Scruggs belted a two-run bomb in the sixth, the Cardinals stretched the lead even further with three more runs in the top of the seventh against LHP Noel Arguelles. With 2B Vance Albitz at second base and one away, O'Neill lined an RBI double to center field. One out later, 3B Ruben Gotay and Swauger struck for consecutive two-out RBI singles, padding the lead to 8-0.
Back on the mound to finish what he started, Greenwood did surrender two late runs in the bottom of the seventh. However, he navigated through the rest of the frame unscathed, closing the 8-2 win for the Cardinals with a complete game performance in Game 1.
Game 2: Cardinals 1 @ Naturals 6 - 7 innings
After Springfield RHP Corey Baker (L, 0-1) and Northwest Arkansas RHP Edwin Carl alternated scoreless innings through the first two, the Naturals (23-45) cracked the tie in the bottom of the third. Leading off the inning, C Manny Pina drove a solo home run over the left field wall, swinging Northwest Arkansas to the 1-0 lead.
A solo homer by 1B Matt Fields in the bottom of the fourth doubled the lead, before the Cardinals (33-35) got on the board in the top of the fifth against LHP Scott Alexander (W, 1-0). With SS Luis Mateo at first base and one down, C Audry Perez drove a smacked a double off the right field wall, putting runners at second and third. LF Mike O'Neill then placed an RBI grounder to second base, enabling Mateo to dart home and cutting the deficit to just 2-1.
The Naturals responded in the bottom of the fifth. 1B Mitch Canham started the inning with a double, and then moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Pina. After an intentional walk to RF Roman Hernandez, RHP Heath Wyatt took over on the mound. With the rain coming down, Wyatt attempted a pick off throw to first, but fired wide and allowed Canham to score from third, stretching the Naturals lead to 3-1. After Wyatt hit 2B Whit Merrifield with the next pitch, the umpires called for the tarp and sent the game into the rain delay.
LHP Justin Wright took over on the mound after the delay, and the Naturals added an unearned run on a missed catch by C Audry Perez at the plate. Northwest Arkansas added two more unearned runs in the bottom of the sixth, before LHP Zach Jackson (S, 5) tossed a scoreless top of the seventh to close the 6-1 win in the second game for the Naturals.
In celebration of the life and career of the greatest Cardinal of them all, Stan Musial, the Springfield Cardinals will be wearing the newly-unveiled Stan Musial Tribute Jerseys during the game against the Tulsa Drillers on Sunday, June 16. The cream-colored jerseys are exact replicas of the St. Louis Cardinals uniforms from 1941, the year that Stan "The Man" played in Springfield before making his St. Louis debut later in the season on Sept. 17.
Every Springfield Cardinal will not only don the tribute jerseys, but the entire team will also wear #6, marking the first time in 50 years that a Cardinal has worn the revered number. During the game, the jerseys will be auctioned off to benefit the Humane Society of Southwest Missouri.
The Sunday, June 16 Father's Day Game also features the Rawlings Allen Craig Bat Giveaway, with 1,250 kids, 15-and-younger, with a paid admission receiving a replica bat of one of the most clutch hitters in baseball! First Pitch is 6:09pm, gates open at 5:09pm.
For information about becoming a Season Ticket Holder, organizing a Group Outing, booking a Cake Pop Company Birthday Party or ordering Individual Game Tickets right now, call the Front Office at (417) 863-2143 or visit SpringfieldCardinals.com.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.