Trav­el­ers over­come slump­ing Nat­u­rals for 11-5 win

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - SCOREBOARD - RICK FIRES Rick Fires can be reached at rfires@nwadg.com or on Twit­ter @NWARick.

TRAV­EL­ERS 11, NAT­U­RALS 5

SPRING­DALE — Chang­ing teams didn’t change the out­come for North­west Arkansas.

The Arkansas Trav­el­ers scored five runs in the fourth in­ning and de­feated the Nat­u­rals 11-5 Mon­day be­fore a crowd of 3,257 at Ar­vest Ball­park. North­west Arkansas has lost 14 of its past 17 games, in­clud­ing four of five on its cur­rent seven-game home­s­tand.

North­west Arkansas grabbed an early 3-0 lead Mon­day to start a three-game se­ries with Arkansas. But the Trav­el­ers took a 6-3 lead in the fourth in­ning with five runs on five hits.

Kyle Wal­drop had a tworun sin­gle in the in­ning fol­lowed by a two-run dou­ble by Seth Me­jias-Brean to against Corey Ray (6-9), who took the loss. Ray, who leads the North­west Arkansas with 22 starts, was bat­tered for 12 hits and eight runs in 41 in­nings.

“Each guy has to do his job and pitch­ers have to lo­cate, which we’re not do­ing,” North­west Arkansas man­ager Vance Wil­son said. “Our of­fense was a lit­tle bet­ter tonight, but we did some not-so-smart things on the basepa­ths that kind of hurt.

“We’re strug­gling and it’s been a long stretch. Guys are tired but all teams are tired.”

Justin DeFra­tus (5-5) pitched five in­nings to earn the vic­tory for the Trav­el­ers (17-21/49-59), who were swept in a four-game se­ries at Tulsa. Shawn O’Mal­ley went 4-for-4 with a home run for Arkansas, which out­hit the Nat­u­rals 1814.

“We swung the bats well and DeFra­tus did a good job of hold­ing them in check,” Arkansas man­ager Daren Brown said.

“We were able to get some sep­a­ra­tion from them and the bullpen was able to hold onto to the lead.”

North­west Arkansas (1424/54-54) didn’t do much af­ter tag­ging DeFra­tus for three runs on four hits in the sec­ond in­ning. Nicky Lopez had a two-out, two-run sin­gle in the sec­ond in­ning af­ter Cody Jones put the Nat­u­rals ahead with a run-scor­ing sin­gle to right field.

Don­nie De­wees had three hits, in­clud­ing an RBI triple, to lead North­west Arkansas.

North­west Arkansas grabbed an early 3-0 lead Mon­day to start a three-game se­ries with Arkansas. But the Trav­el­ers took a 6-3 lead in the fourth in­ning with five runs on five hits.

SHORT HOPS

■ North­west Arkansas starter Corey Ray did a good job of main­tain­ing his fo­cus af­ter be­ing hit by a bat­ted ball in the third in­ning. Arkansas opened the in­ning with three con­sec­u­tive hits, in­clud­ing an in­field sin­gle by Braden Bishop that glanced off Ray.

The right-han­der came strong and struck out Kyle Wal­drop, Seth Me­jias-Brean, and Ryan Cas­teel to end the in­ning.

■ Third base­man Car­los Diaz pro­vided one of the few high­lights for the Nat­u­rals on Mon­day. Diaz stopped a hard grounder and threw from his knees to be­gin a 5-4-3 dou­ble play to end the sixth in­ning for the Trav­el­ers.

Diaz also had a sin­gle and dou­ble for the Nat­u­rals.

■ Mon­day proved to be a bad night for top farm teams of the Kansas City Roy­als.

Be­sides the Nat­u­rals’ 11-5 de­feat to Arkansas, Class A-Ad­vance Wilm­ing­ton lost 4-2 to the Buies Creek Astros and Triple-A Omaha lost 6-4 to Fresno.

On Deck: Right-han­der Nick Nei­dert (0-2, 8.68 ERA) will take the mound for Arkansas tonight against left-han­der Fos­ter Grif­fin (7-3, 3.13 ERA) for the Nat­u­rals.

Grif­fin al­lowed three runs

in 61/3 in­nings dur­ing a 6-2 loss to Spring­field in his last start.

To­days’ Pro­mo­tion: Buck-A-Brat night with $1 brats at the John­sonville Grill Cart. Two for Tues­day, which in­cludes $5 dugout pre­mium tick­ets for Ar­vest cus­tomers and two for one spe­cials on Kids Zone wrist­bands and sou­venir game pro­grams.

On The Air: 92.1 FM, The Ticket

On The Web: www.nwa nat­u­rals.com

NWA Demo­crat-Gazette/J.T. WAMPLER

North­west Arkansas Nat­u­rals Car­los Diaz scoops up a grounder Mon­day against the Trav­el­ers at Ar­vest Ball­park in Spring­dale. Arkansas won the Texas League game 11-5.

NWA Demo­crat-Gazette/J.T. WAMPLER

Nat­u­rals Nick Dini rounds third base on his was to score against the Trav­el­ers Mon­day.

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