Springfield, MO - The Springfield Cardinals wrapped up the series win, 3-games-to-1, against the Arkansas Travelers with a 3-1 victory before 3,346 fans at Hammons Field on Wednesday night. The Cards have won six of their last seven games and three of their last four series, pulling within just one game of the 1st-place Travs.
After Springfield LHP Tim Cooney (W, 6-5) and Arkansas RHP Manny Correa (L, 3-10) alternated scoreless frames through the first two, both sides struck for one run in their halves of the third. The Travelers (15-11, 48-47) got on the board first in the top of the inning. With LF Jimmy Swift at first base and one down, SS Rolando Gomez singled to put runners at the corners. One out later, a delayed double steal enabled Swift to race in from third, cracking the scoreless tie, 1-0.
The Cardinals (14-12, 47-47) responded quickly, evening the score in the bottom of the third. 2B Luis Mateo started the frame with a single to left field, before RF Adam Melker doubled down the left field side, putting men at second and third. SS Jake Lemmerman then crushed a hard-hit sacrifice fly back to the track in left field, more than deep enough to bring in Mateo from third base and square the score, 1-1.
Springfield struck again in the bottom of the fifth inning, taking their first lead of the game. Melker extended the inning with his second double of the game, blasting a two-out drive to right-center field. Lemmerman followed with a laser of an RBI single to shallow center, plating Melker from second base to lift the Cardinals into the 2-1 advantage.
Cooney (W, 6-5) kept the Cardinals narrow advantage intact through his seven very strong frames. The All-Star allowed only the one run, while striking out six and scattering just five hits.
The Cards tacked on an insurance run in the bottom of the eighth. Melker led off with a perfectly placed bunt single, before racing to second on a sacrifice bunt by Lemmerman. LF Mike O'Neill followed with an RBI single to center field, driving in Melker and padding the lead to 3-1.
The Travelers got two men on with only one down in the top of the ninth, but RHP Kevin Thomas (S, 1) took over on the mound and quickly induced a game-ending double play turned by Gotay at third, closing the 3-1 win for Springfield.
Click here for the complete box score from Wednesday's game.
The Cardinals kick off a four-game road series on Thursday in Northwest Arkansas with a 7 p.m. First Pitch. Catch all the action live on Jock 98.7FM and SpringfieldCardinals.com, and tune in 15 minutes early for the Coyote's Sports Cafe Pregame Show.
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