Springfield, MO - The Arkansas Travelers struck for two in the top of the ninth, dealing the final blow in the back-and-forth 11-9 win against the Springfield Cardinals before 5,159 fans at Hammons Field on Friday night.
The Cardinals (18-23) swung in front right away in the bottom of the first against RHP Drew Rucinski. With one away, 2B Jacob Wilson cracked the scoreless tie with a solo shot to left, lifting the Cardinals into the 1-0 advantage.
Arkansas (20-20), though, had a quick answer in the top of the second against RHP Kurt Heyer. 1B Brian Hernandez led off with a double, before moving to third on a wild pitch. After a walk and a pop out put runners at the corners with two down, former Cardinal and new Travelers SS Vance Albitz drove an RBI double to left-center field. RF Andy Workman then propelled the Travs in front, 3-1, with a two-run base hit to center.
The Cardinals dealt the next blow, striking for three runs in the bottom of the second. With one down, RF Rafael Ortega worked a walk and SS Matt Williams singled, putting runners at first and second. One out later, LF Mike O'Neill placed a two-run double just inside the third base line and was able to race all the way home when LF Zach Borenstein's errant throw bounced away, putting Springfield right back in front, 4-3.
Arkansas refused to stay down for long, evening it back up in the top of the third with an unearned run. 2B Alex Yarbrough started the stanza by reaching base on an error. He advanced to second on a wild pitch, before moving to third on a groundout. Hernandez then drove an RBI double off the right field wall, bringing in Yarbrough to square the score at 4-4.
The Travelers moved back into the lead with a two-out rally in the top of the fourth. After Heyer posted the first two outs quickly, Workman and CF Adam Melker knocked back-to-back base hits. A walk drawn by Yarbrough loaded the bases, before Borenstein hit a three-run triple to left-center, bringing all three runners in for the 7-4 advantage.
The Travs kept swinging with two more tallies in the top of the sixth. After RHP Corey Baker retired the first out, Workman worked a walk to get to first base. Melker then skied an RBI double off the right field wall, plating Workman from first base. Yarbrough floated an RBI single to left-center, driving in Melker to make it 9-4.
The Cardinals started the comeback right away in the bottom of the sixth. With one down, Ortega sparked the charge with an infield single. Williams followed with his second base hit of the game, before C Travis Tartamella ripped an RBI single inside the third base line to bring in Ortega. O'Neill then bounced a grounder to first base, which Hernandez fielded but threw wide to second, enabling everyone to be safe and Williams to score from third. After a strikeout, CF James Ramsey launched a game-tying three-run home run to right field, bringing the Cardinals back even at 9-9.
However, the Travelers cracked the tie with two in the top of the ninth against LHP Lee Stoppelman (L, 0-1). Stoppelman started the inning with a strikeout, but DH Zach Zaneski worked a walk and C Jett Bandy placed a single, putting two runners on. After another strikeout, Workman was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Stoppelman then hit Melker with a pitch, forcing in the go-ahead run from third. With the bases full, Yarbrough drove in the final run with an RBI walk, making it 11-9.
RHP Cam Bedrosian (S, 5) took over on the mound for the Travelers and closed the 11-9 win for Arkansas with a scoreless bottom of the ninth. RHP David Carpenter (W, 1-0) tossed 2.1 scoreless relief innings to log the win.
Click here for the complete box score from Friday's game.
Don't miss Coca-Cola 3/4 Sleeve Shirts this Saturday!
The Cards and Travs 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.