Duenez just misses cycle in Naturals’ win
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.
■ 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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