Cardinals’ arms keep Naturals in check
CARDINALS 4, NATURALS 1 NATURALS PUBLIC RELATIONS
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — For the second straight evening, the Northwest Arkansas Naturals struggled to gain offensive traction against stout Springfield Cardinals pitching Monday.
The Naturals mustard just one run on six hits in a 4-1 loss to the Cardinals at Hammons Field. Northwest Arkansas went just 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position.
The lone knock with men in scoring position came by Nicky Lopez with two outs in the fifth inning to score a run.
Alfredo Escalera coaxed a walk against Springfield starter Dakota Hudson (8-4), to open the fifth frame and scored when Lopez laced a two-out double down the leftfield line to cut the Cardinals’ lead to 2-1.
Northwest Arkansas (1113 second half, 50-44 overall) sent left-hander, Foster Griffin (7-2) to the mound as the starter. The 21-year old lasted five innings and struck out two while suffering his first losing decision since June 4.
The Naturals had a scoring chance in the fourth inning halted by a leaping catch by left fielder Oscar Mercado. With a man on second base and one out, Anderson Miller cracked a drive to left, which Mercado nabbed while scaling the fence.
Naturals reliever Richard Lovelady pitched two innings and allowed a run with a pair of strikeouts, while Jake Newberry stayed hot on the hill with a scoreless eighth inning. Newberry owns a 0.82 earned run average over his last nine appearances, surrendering just one run over 11 innings of relief work.