North Little Rock, AR-The Arkansas Travelers nearly rallied from six runs down on Tuesday night but fell to Northwest Arkansas, 7-6 at Dickey-Stephens Park.
Almost all of the offense came in the first third of the game before the bullpens took over late. The Travs struck in the first inning on a Ryan Casteel RBI hit, the third of three straight singles. The Naturals answered with a three run second inning courtesy of four hits and an error among the first five hitters of the inning. The lead for NWA ballooned to six as they scored four times with two out in the third inning off reliever Justin DeFratus, making his Travs debut. DeFratus would settle though and end up pitching 5.2 total innings without allowing another run.
That gave the Trav offense a chance to work their way back into the game. They responded to the Naturals four-run frame with one of their own that included a three-run double from Tyler Marlette and then a two-out RBI single from Kyle Petty cutting the deficit to two. That inning knocked the Naturals starter Zach Lovvorn out after just three frames. Against reliever Pedro Fernandez in the fourth, Ian Miller singled, stole second and then scored on a double from Gianfranco Wawoe cutting it to a one-run game. But that would be it for the scoring for the night. Both bullpens would close the game with zeroes from the fifth inning on as the Travs had only one hit over the final five innings.
Fernandez (2-2) ended up pitching three innings from the Naturals bullpen to pick up the win while Jake Newberry recorded the final four outs for his league leading sixth save. Travs starter Max Povse (3-2) took the loss surrendering three runs (two earned) on five hits in two innings.
Miller, Wawoe and Chuck Taylor had two hits apiece for the Travelers with Taylor's extending his hitting streak to 18 and his on base streak to 28.
The Travs and Naturals meet again on Wednesday night for a $1 hot dog night and college night at Dickey-Stephens Park. Right-hander Dylan Unsworth (1-3, 5.86) starts for the Travs against lefty Emilio Ogando (1-1, 2.79) for the Naturals in a 7:10 first pitch. The game will also be broadcast on the Sports Animal 920, the First Pitch App, TuneIn radio and milb.tv.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.