Springdale, AR - The Northwest Arkansas Naturals claimed victories in both games against the Springfield Cardinals in Thursday's doubleheader, before 4,342 fans at Arvest Ballpark in Springdale. The Naturals took the first seven-inning game, 8-1, before escaping with a 3-2 win in Game 2.
Game 1: Springfield 1 @ NW Arkansas 8 - 7 innings
The Naturals (21-43) struck early with three runs against All-Star LHP Tim Cooney (L, 3-4) and the Cardinals (31-33) in the bottom of the first inning. With one on and two down, 1B Matt Fields drove a two-run home run over the left field wall to crack the scoreless tie. RF Yem Prades followed with a double, before racing in on an RBI single by 3B Rey Navarro to make it 3-0.
The Cardinals chipped down the deficit with a run in the top of the fourth against RHP Sugar Ray Marimon (W, 3-8). CF James Ramsey started the inning with a triple into the right field corner. He then darted home on an RBI grounder by 3B Ruben Gotay, slicing the Naturals lead to 3-1.
However, Northwest Arkansas responded with a five-run rally in the bottom of the fourth. With two on and two away, an RBI base hit by SS Orlando Calixte plated the frame's first run. After a walk and a wild pitch scored the second tally, Fields struck again with a two-run base hit to make it 7-1. Fields scored later in the inning on an error, stretching the Naturals lead to seven runs.
Marimon went the distance for the Naturals, completing the seven-inning outing and guiding the Naturals to the 8-1 win in Game 1.
Game 2: Springfield 2 @ NW Arkansas 3 - 7 innings
The Naturals (22-43) struck first again, plating three runs in the bottom of the third inning against LHP Jonathan Cornelius (L, 0-1). With two outs and the bases empty, 2B Whit Merrifield lined a single to extend the inning. He then raced all the way home on an RBI triple by CF Brett Eibner, before SS Orlando Calixte followed with a two-run homer for the 3-0 lead.
The Cardinals (31-34) responded in part right away in the top of the fourth inning against RHP Aaron Brooks (W, 2-0). LF Mike O'Neill started the stanza with a single, darting around to third base one out later on a base hit from DH Ruben Gotay. RF Chris Swauger then laced an RBI single to right-center field, scoring O'Neill to make it 3-1.
Springfield refused to go down quietly, attempting the late comeback in the top of the seventh against LHP Zach Jackson (S, 4). After C Cody Stanley reached first base on a fielder's choice that retired the frame's second out, 3B Vance Albitz singled to center to extend the game and put two runners on. SS Jake Lemmerman then entered the game as a pinch hitter and placed a two-out RBI single to shallow right field, scoring Stanley to make it just a one run game. However, Jackson won the battle against O'Neill, inducing a grounder to second base and closing the 3-2 win in seven frames for the Naturals.
Stan Musial Tribute Jerseys and Allen Craig Bat Giveaway highlight Father's Day Game on June 16
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.
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.