Springfield, MO - The Springfield Cardinals and the Northwest Arkansas Naturals split the doubleheader on Friday before 4,817 fans at Hammons Field. The Cardinals won the first seven-inning game, 6-4, before the Naturals held on in the second game, 5-4.
Game 1 - Cardinals 6 vs. Naturals 4
The Cardinals (17-14) swung in front in the bottom of the second inning against RHP Sugar Ray Marimon (L, 2-4). With two down, 2B Starlin Rodriguez extended the inning with a sharp single to left field. C Audry Perez promptly followed with a two-run homer over the left field wall, swinging Springfield to the 2-0 lead.
After an RBI single by 1B Xavier Scruggs in the bottom of the third tacked another run to the lead, the Naturals (11-20) got on the board in the top of the fourth against RHP Richard Castillo (W, 2-3). With one on and two down, 1B Matt Fields knocked a two-run homer over the left field wall, bringing Northwest Arkansas within one run, 3-2.
However, the Cardinals stretched the lead back out right away in the bottom of the fourth. With two down, SS Jake Lemmerman kept the inning alive with a double, followed by a walk from LF Mike O'Neill. CF Tommy Pham then rocketed a three-run home run over the right field wall, lifting the Cardinals in front by four, 6-2.
The Naturals chipped away with runs in the fifth and sixth against Castillo, but RHP Keith Butler (S, 4) slammed the door by working out of trouble in the seventh, closing the 6-4 win for Springfield.
Click here for the complete box score from Game 1.
The Naturals (12-20) broke through with five runs in the top of the third against LHP Nick Greenwood (L, 0-1) and the Cards. With one on and one down, DH Orlando Calixte opened the scoring with an RBI single. After a walk by 3B Rey Navarro moved Calixte to second, CF Yem Prades placed an RBI base hit to make it 2-0. C Manny Pina reached on a fielder's choice, and then 1B Matt Fields drove a three-run homer over the left-center field wall, stretching it to a 5-0 lead.
Springfield (17-15) came roaring back into the ballgame with four runs in the bottom of the sixth inning. With two down, SS Luis Mateo kept the inning alive with a base hit. He moved to second on a walk by C Travis Tartamella, before 3B Vance Albitz ripped an RBI double down the left field line to get the Cards on the board. LF Mike O'Neill followed with a towering three-run home run over the right field fence, bringing the Cardinals within one run, 5-4.
Springfield got the game-tying run as far as second base in the bottom of the seventh, but RHP Edwin Carl and the Naturals escaped trouble for the 5-4 win in seven innings. RHP Matt Ridings (W, 1-0) tossed three scoreless relief innings to earn the win for Northwest Arkansas.
Click here for the complete box score from Game 2.
The great Championship giveaways continue this Saturday with the Coca-Cola Texas League Championship Long Sleeve Shirt Giveaway (2,500 fans). Show your Championship pride with these must-have shirts! First Pitch is 6:09pm, gates open at 5:09pm.
The homestand wraps up on Sunday with a 2:09pm First Pitch. It's a Hiland Dairy Ice Cream Sunday with a free ice cream party for kids before the game. All kids can then run the bases just like the Cardinals after the game! Gates open at 1:09pm.
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.
Click here for the Cardinals full 2013 Promotional Schedule and to get your tickets right now.
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This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.