Escalera’s blast lifts Naturals past Midland
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.
■ 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.
On The Air: 92.1 FM, The Ticket
On The Web: www.nwanaturals.com