Springdale, AR - The Springfield Cardinals got the tying run to the plate in the ninth, but the Northwest Arkansas Naturals came away with the 6-3 win before 6,414 fans at Arvest Ballpark on Saturday evening.
The Naturals (13-22) started off well, scoring one run in each of the first three innings against LHP Jonathan Cornelius (L, 2-4), before the Cardinals (17-18) got on the board in the top of the fourth. RF James Ramsey sparked the Springfield offense with a leadoff double. One out later, Ramsey raced to third on a groundout, before coming home on a fielding error charged to SS Orlando Calixte, making it 3-1.
Northwest Arkansas, though, stretched the lead right back out in the bottom of the fourth. With DH Mark Threlkeld on at second base and two down, 2B Justin Trapp sliced an RBI double inside the right field line to increase the lead back to three runs, 4-1.
The Naturals struck for two more in the bottom of the fifth. With one down, RF Jorge Bonifacio singled himself on, before trotting home on a two-run home run from 3B Cheslor Cuthbert, making it 6-1.
Springfield started chipping away again in the top of the sixth against starter RHP Andy Ferguson (W, 2-2). Ramsey again was the catalyst, starting the frame with a base hit. One out later, DH Cody Stanley singled Ramsey to third, putting runners at the corners. After a strikeout, 2B Matt Williams ripped an RBI double down the left field line, bringing in Ramsey to cut the deficit down to 6-2.
Rehabbing St. Louis Cardinals RHP Jason Motte kept the Naturals at six with a scoreless bottom of the sixth inning, before LHP Justin Wright tossed a scoreless seventh.
Ramsey then struck again in the top of the eighth. With one away, he launched his league-best ninth home run, a solo shot, over the left field fence, swinging Springfield within three runs, 6-3.
After RHP Joey Donofrio dealt a 1-2-3 eighth, the Cardinals threatened to tie it in the ninth. 2B Greg Miclat started the inning with a single, but RHP Malcom Culver (S, 3) battled back by retiring the next two batters. However, CF Rafael Ortega kept the game alive with a two-out base hit, giving Ramsey a chance to tie it with one big swing. Culver, though, won the battle against Ramsey with a strikeout and the Naturals hung on for the 6-3 win.
Click here for the complete box score from Saturday's game.
Cardinals come back on May 16 for a four-game series
The Cardinals continue the road trip this Sunday against the Northwest Arkansas Naturals at 2:05pm. Catch all the action live on Jock 98.7 FM and SpringfieldCardinals.com, and tune in 15 minutes early for the Coyote's Sports Cafe Pregame Show.
Springfield then returns home on Friday, May 16 to host the Arkansas Travelers for a four-game series at Hammons Field. Don't miss phenomenal AM Pyrotechnics Friday Night Fireworks featuring 60s British Rock & Roll after the 7:10pm game. Gates open at 6:10pm.
The Cards and Travs then square off on Saturday, May 17 with a 6:10pm First Pitch. That day features the Coca-Cola 3/4 Sleeve Shirt Giveaway for 2,500 fans. Gates open at 5:10pm.
Sunday, May 18 will be a 2:10pm game at Hammons Field, as well as a Hiland Dairy Ice Cream Sunday with free ice cream for kids before the game. All kids can then run the bases just like Cardinals after the game with The Track Family Fun Parks Kids Race the Bases promotion. Gates open at 1:10pm.
The series then wraps up on Monday, May 19 with a 7:10pm First Pitch against the Travelers. Gates open at 6:10pm.
For information about becoming a Season Ticket Holder, organizing a Group Outing, booking a The Cup 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 complete 2014 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.