Es­calera’s blast lifts Nat­u­rals past Mid­land

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

TEXAS LEAGUE NAT­U­RALS 11, ROCK­HOUNDS 5

SPRING­DALE — A day off was ap­par­ently all North­west Arkansas needed.

Al­fredo Es­calera hit a two-out, three-run homer in the sev­enth in­ning to lift the Nat­u­rals to an 11-5 vic­tory over Mid­land on Tues­day be­fore a crowd of 3,409 at Ar­vest Ball­park. Es­calera had a big night at the plate with three hits and four RBI, in­clud­ing his sev­enth home run of the sea­son.

North­west Arkansas (56-59) over­came an early three- run deficit af­ter starter Josh Stau­mont again strug­gled with his con­trol. Stau­mont walked three bat­ters in the first in­ning and an­other in the sec­ond to help Mid­land (55-60) to a 3-0 lead. But the Nat­u­rals pulled to­gether and ral­lied for the win af­ter get­ting a day off on Mon­day, its first in 26 days.

Tues­day’s game marked the start of a six-game home­s­tand for the Nat­u­rals, who are in last place af­ter win­ning the first-half di­vi­sion cham­pi­onship in the Texas League North.

“Not only did we have 26 straight ( days), we didn’t have any ex­tra play­ers for al­most the first two weeks of that,” North­west Arkansas man­ager Vance Wil­son said. “The team needed that day off bad.”

North­west Arkansas had two outs in the sev­enth be­fore Paulo Orlando started the rally with a sin­gle to cen­ter field. Samir Duenez then walked be­fore Es­calera hit the first pitch from re­liever James Naile into the stands in left field. North­west Arkansas con­tin­ued to pull away and led 10-5 af­ter a two-run sin­gle by Cody Jones in the eighth. “(Es­calera) had been work­ing hard, try­ing to make hard con­tact,” Wil­son said. “Not only did he hit the big bomb, but he hit it when we re­ally needed it.”

Orlando and An­der­son Miller added two hits each for the Nat­u­rals, who out­hit Mid­land 13-9.

Mid­land took a 3-0 lead be­fore Nat­u­rals pulled ahead 4-3 af­ter a two-run sin­gle by Hum­berto Arteaga in the sec­ond in­ning and a sac­ri­fice fly by Es­calera in the fourth. North­west Arkansas added an­other run be­fore Mid­land tied it 5-5 on an in­field sin­gle by B.J. Boyd in the sixth.

SHORT HOPS

■ Jack Lopez re­joined the Nat­u­rals af­ter play­ing 18 games at Triple-A Omaha. Lopez bat­ted first and started at third base on Tues­day. He hit .145 with two dou­bles and an RBI at Omaha.

■ North­west Arkansas starter Josh Stau­mont strug­gled with his con­trol and left the game af­ter throw­ing 77 pitches in only three in­nings. Stau­mont walked five and fell be­hind 3-0 de­spite al­low­ing only one hit in two in­nings.

■ Mid­land starter Dustin Hurl­butt had a no-de­ci­sion de­spite be­ing staked to a 3-0 lead. Hurl­butt al­lowed five hits and four earned runs in four in­nings.

On Deck: The Nat­u­rals have not named a starter for tonight’s game against Mid­land at 7:05 p.m. Left­hander A.J. Puk (1-3, 5.66 ERA) will start for Mid­land.

To­day’s Pro­mo­tion: Groups of 20 or more may pur­chase first and third base re­served tick­ets for $5 each in ad­vance.

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On The Web: www.nwanat­u­rals.com

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