Springfield, MO - The Northwest Arkansas Naturals claimed a 4-1 win against the Springfield Cardinals before 1,832 fans at Hammons Field on Wednesday afternoon. With rainy and cold conditions, the game was delayed for 20 minutes prior to the first pitch and then again for one hour and four minutes in the top of the sixth inning.
With two singles and a double in the game, CF Oscar Mercado has tied the Springfield Cardinals all-time record with an 18-game hitting streak, dating back to April 11. Mercado joins Travis Hanson (8/11/05-8/29/05), Tyler Greene (7/10/08-7/26/08), Tony Cruz (6/15/10-7/9/10), Michael Ohlman (5/26/15-6/22/15) and Charlie Tilson (7/8/15-7/26/15) as Cardinals to accomplish the feat.
The Cardinals (12-12) jumped on RHP Corey Ray (W, 3-1), seizing the lead right away in the bottom of the first inning. LF Nick Martini sparked the rally with a single to left field, followed by a base hit to center from RF Adolis Garcia. With runners at first and second, 3B Bruce Caldwell pulled an RBI single through the right side, scoring Martini for the 1-0 lead.
Cardinals RHP Dakota Hudson (L, 1-2) kept the one-run lead intact through his first three scoreless innings, but the Naturals (14-10) evened it in the top of the fourth. DH Frank Schwindel started the stanza with a double. One out later, SS Humberto Arteaga singled Schwindel to third base, before an RBI base hit from C Zane Evans brought Schwindel in for the 1-1 tie.
The Naturals moved in front in the top of the fifth inning. The frame started with CF Donnie Dewees and LF Alfredo Escalera both reaching on consecutive errors from 2B Eliezer Alvarez. A fly out to left field enabled Dewees to tag and take third, before a passed ball allowed Dewees to score the go-ahead run for the 2-1 lead.
Northwest Arkansas added to the advantage in the top of the sixth inning. With the rain coming down, SS Humberto Arteaga started the inning with a single. A pair of wild pitches moved Arteaga around to third, before Hudson dug in with back-to-back strikeouts. An RBI base hit from 2B Jack Lopez brought in Arteaga for a 3-1 lead. After Arteaga's base hit, the rain intensified and the umpires called for the tarp, sending the game into a rain delay. After a delay of one hour and four minutes, LHP Chandler Hawkins took over on the mound and promptly struck out Dewees for the frame's final out with the Naturals ahead, 3-1.
The Naturals stretched the advantage in the top of the seventh inning. With one away, 1B Samir Duenez deposited a solo home run to right field, making it a 4-1 Northwest Arkansas lead.
Springfield RHP Blake McKnight kept the Cardinals within striking distance with scoreless work in the eighth and ninth, but the Naturals countered with scoreless relief from RHP Jake Newberry (S, 4) through the final two innings to close the 4-1 win for Northwest Arkansas.
Baseball Koozies and $1 Bratwursts on Thursday, May 4
The Cardinals continue the eight-game homestand through Friday, May 5. Don't miss any of the upcoming fun, including:
-Thursday, May 4, 7:10pm - Nixon & Lindstrom Insurance Baseball Koozie Giveaway (2,000) and Klement's "Buck a Brat" Night. Gates open at 6:10pm.
-Friday, May 5, 7:10pm - AM Pyrotechnics Friday Night Fireworks with "Colorful" Music and Mizzou Night with a pregame program featuring Head Basketball Coach Cuonzo Martin, Head Football Coach Barry Odom and Athletic Director Jim Sterk. Doors to the Indoor Training Facility for the pregame program open at 5:45pm, gates to the stadium will open at 6:10pm.
For information about becoming a Season Ticket Holder, organizing a Group Outing, booking a 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 2017 Promotional Schedule and to order 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.