Nat­u­rals rally to beat Midland again

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - SPORTS - PAUL BOYD

SPRINGDALE — North­west Arkansas con­tin­ued its mas­tery of Midland at Ar­vest Ball­park, but needed some late hero­ics to do it Wed­nes­day night.

Nick Dini capped a three­run eighth with a two-out, two-run dou­ble to lift the Nat­u­rals to a 6-4 win over the Rock­Hounds in front of 3,064. It was North­west Arkansas’ fifth straight win over Midland (20-26, 56-60) at home and its sixth in eight meet­ings this sea­son.

North­west Arkansas (18-28, 57-59) trailed 4-3 go­ing into the bot­tom of the eighth. But the Nat­u­rals got started on back-to-back hit bats­men by Midland re­liever Bran­don Mann (3-5). The run­ners moved up to sec­ond and third thanks to a wild pitch by Mann.

The Rock­Hounds, who led 4-0 early, then elected to in­ten­tion­ally walk Hum­berto Arteaga to load the bases with one out. An­der­son Miller then beat out a pos­si­ble in­ning-end­ing dou­ble play at first to al­low the ty­ing run to score.

Dini, who fin­ished 3-for-4, lined a dou­ble into the right­field cor­ner to score two and give the Nat­u­rals their first lead of the night.

North­west Arkansas man­ager Vance Wil­son said his catcher, who is hit­ting .358 over 49 games, has not been a sur­prise to him.

“He’s a good player, man,” Wil­son said. “When you look at these young men when their me­chan­ics match up and they get an op­por­tu­nity to play, it usu­ally works. Look at the kid’s swing, how he pre­pares and how he sets up and his hand path. All those small things we don’t like to talk about, it works. Guys like that to me, the hit bet­ter the higher up they get be­cause the ball’s around the plate. He’s a com­peti­tor.”

Jack Lopez got North­west Arkansas go­ing with a three­run home run in the fifth to get the Nat­u­rals within 4-3.

Midland man­ager Fran Rior­dan said his team again failed to hold a lead late, which has been the story against North­west Arkansas this sea­son.

“We haven’t won a game here all sea­son and four out of the five games we’ve had pretty sig­nif­i­cant leads we weren’t able to hold on to,” Rior­dan said. “We have to do a bet­ter job. You’ve got to give them credit in the other dugout. They don’t stop on of­fense. They seem to have their best at-bats when it mat­ters most and they proved that again tonight.”

SHORT HOPS

■ Midland first base­man Viosergy Rosa, who leads the Texas League with 94 RBIs, drove in three of the Rock­Hounds’ four runs, in­clud­ing a big two-out, two-run dou­ble in the fifth to give his team a 4-0 lead.

■ Nat­u­rals closer Mark Peter­son notched his sec­ond save in four ap­pear­ances by pitch­ing a score­less top of the ninth.

■ Midland right fielder J.P. Sport­man was ejected by home plate umpire John Fel­czak for ar­gu­ing a called third strike to end the fifth in­ning. He dou­bled and scored in the sec­ond in­ning on a sin­gle by team­mate Tyler Ramirez.

On Deck: The Nat­u­rals will fin­ish a three-game se­ries against Midland and will send Corey Ray (6-9 5.11 ERA) to the mound against Grant Holmes (8-11 4.90 ERA) for the Rock­Hounds.

To­day’s Pro­mo­tion: It’s Buck Night as moz­zarella sticks and 12-ounce Coke drinks are $1, while bags of peanuts and 16-pounce Pabst Blue Rib­bon drafts are $2 each at spe­cific lo­ca­tions.

On The Air: 92.1 FM, The Ticket

On The Web: www.nwa nat­u­rals.com

NWA Demo­crat-Gazette/ANDY SHUPE

Nat­u­rals short­stop Hum­berto Arteaga at­tempts to field a grounder bare­handed Wed­nes­day against the Midland Rock­hounds at Ar­vest Ball­park in Springdale. Visit nwadg.com/pho­tos for more pho­tos from the game.

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