Duenez just misses cy­cle in Nat­u­rals’ win

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - SCOREBOARD - CHIP SOUZA

NAT­U­RALS 7, TRAV­EL­ERS 2

SPRING­DALE — Samir Duenez stood at sec­ond base and threw his hands into the air in dis­be­lief.

The North­west Arkansas Nat­u­rals’ first base­man came to the plate in the sev­enth in­ning need­ing a triple to hit for the cy­cle, and launched a rocket into the left-field cor­ner that looked like a sure three-bag­ger. In­stead, the ball bounced hard off the dirt near the foul line and over the wall for a groundrule dou­ble.

Duenez’s dou­ble capped a 4-for-4 night to help the Nat­u­rals earn a 7-2 win over the Arkansas in Ar­vest Ball­park on Wed­nes­day in front of 3,471 fans. The win gave the Nat­u­rals (55-55) the se­ries win head­ing into a four-game road trip that starts to­day in Spring­field.

“I was think­ing about the cy­cle on my last at-bat,” Duenez said. “But that hap­pens some­times. I’m just try­ing to do what I know to do and try to help the team. The most im­por­tant thing is we won.”

Nat­u­rals starter Josh Stau­mont (1-2) re­cov­ered from a rough start to the game to earn the win. Stau­mont gave up hits to the first three Arkansas bat­ters and al­lowed the Travs (49-61) to score two runs. Stau­mont was solid over the next four in­nings with­out al­low­ing a run, and went 52/3 in­nings and struck out two.

“He’s re­ally been work­ing on a lot of me­chan­i­cal things,” Nat­u­rals man­ager Vance Wil­son said. “More than any­thing, I thought he com­peted very well, not just with him­self, but also with the other team.”

North­west Arkansas used solo home runs in the third and fourth in­nings to take a 3-2 lead, then tacked on four more runs in the fifth in­ning. Duenez had one of the homers, and nine-hole hit­ter Cody Jones blasted a 450-foot shot to right.

SHORT HOPS

■ Nat­u­rals re­liever Yu­nior Marte worked out of a bases-loaded, no-out jam in the eighth. A hit bat­ter and two walks filled the bases, but Marte got a strike­out, pop-up and ground out to work out of the jam.

■ Al­fredo Es­calara had a home run, dou­ble and three RBIs for the Nat­u­rals, and Jones added a sin­gle and stolen base for North­west Arkansas.

■ Hunter Dozier got the start at third base for the Nat­u­rals. The for­mer Nat­u­ral was trans­ferred to North­west Arkansas Wed­nes­day. Dozier had been side­lined with a wrist in­jury since June 6 and was 0-for-2 with a walk.

On Deck: The Nat­u­rals are on the road for a four-game se­ries in Spring­field start­ing to­day. Left-han­der Emilio Or­gando (7-7, 3.23 ERA) will take the ball for North­west Arkansas against right-han­der Chris El­lis (2-6, 4.18). First pitch at Ham­monds Sta­dium will be at 7:10 p.m.

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On The Web: www.nwa nat­u­rals.com

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