Drillers drop Naturals in ex­tra in­nings

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - BASEBALL - SCOT­TIE BORDELON Scot­tie Bordelon can be reached at sbor­de­lon@nwadg.com or on Twit­ter @NWAS­cot­tie.

SPRING­DALE — Tulsa short­stop Er­rol Robin­son took ad­van­tage of a slightly el­e­vated Yu­nior Marte fast­ball and lifted the Drillers Satur­day night.

Robin­son’s 2-out RBI base­hit in the 12th in­ning gifted the Drillers a 2-1 over the Naturals (51-48). The even­tual game-win­ner was a rare key hit in the ball­game as Tulsa fin­ished the night 3-for-9 with run­ners in scor­ing po­si­tion. The Naturals went 0-for-11.

“We’re just not hit­ting,” Naturals man­ager Vance Wil­son said. “The guys are work­ing hard, un­for­tu­nately it’s just all about ap­proach, men­tal strength. It’s the grind of the sum­mer, and we’ve got some guys fig­ur­ing out what AA-ball is all about.”

North­west Arkansas plated its lone run of the night in the sec­ond in­ning as catcher Nick Dini raced home on Tulsa’s Mitchell White’s wild pitch. Samir Duenez led the Naturals of­fen­sively with a pair of hits in six at-bats, but, as a team, the Naturals left 11 men on base.

Wil­son said the Naturals’ night at the plate with men on comes down to ap­proach. North­west Arkansas was two run­ners shy of ty­ing its sea­son-high for men left on base.

“When you get in bad counts, it doesn’t mat­ter if there’s run­ners on or no run­ners on, your chance of suc­cess goes down,” Wil­son said. “We just have to be a lit­tle stronger men­tally.”

Marte (0-1, 5.93 ERA), who joined North­west Arkansas to­ward the end of June, was tagged with the loss. Marte sur­ren­dered a pair of hits, in­clud­ing Robin­son’s game-win­ner, walked five and stuck out three in three in­nings.

“I thought he did great. I thought there were a cou­ple of pitches he didn’t get,” Wil­son said. “Tip your cap to Robin­son, he got a ball a lit­tle up. He was get­ting to­ward the end of his out­ing, so he was tired, but I thought he bat­tled great.”

North­west Arkansas wraps up its short home­s­tand

with the Drillers to­day be­fore head­ing to Lit­tle Rock for a three-game set with the Trav­el­ers to be­gin next week.

SHORT HOPS

■ Tulsa’s Peter O’Brien watched a curve­ball for a strike pass him by in the top of the sixth in­ning. O’Brien dug back into the box un­aware the pitch was a called strike three. He was the sec­ond out of the in­ning. Tulsa ul­ti­mately stranded the po­ten­tial go-ahead run on third base.

■ Naturals re­liever Zach Lovvorn lost con­trol of and dropped the base­ball as he pre­pared to de­liver a pitch to home plate in the eighth in­ning. Drillers lead­off hit­ter Tim Lo­cas­tro sin­gled up the mid­dle on the next pitch.

On Deck: The Naturals re­turn to Ar­vest Ball­park to­day to close out a four-game set with the Drillers. North­west Arkansas will look to sal­vage a se­ries split with RHP Josh Stau­mont (0-2, 8.22 ERA) get­ting the start.

To­day’s Pro­mo­tion: All kids 12 years old and younger eat free. Kids will re­ceive a voucher for a hot dog, chips and 12 oz. soda as they en­ter the gates cour­tesy of Tyson Foods, Inc. Kids of all ages will also be able to run the bases fol­low­ing the game.

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On The Web: www.nwa naturals.com

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