Despite triple play, Cards fall in finale with Naturals

The Northwest Arkansas Naturals closed the series at Arvest Ballpark with a 2-0 win against the 1st-Half North Division Champion Springfield Cardinals before 3,973 fans on Sunday afternoon.

Both Cardinals RHP Daniel Poncedeleon (L, 6-6) and Naturals RHP Jake Junis alternated scoreless work through the first four innings, as both hurlers worked out of numerous jams through the first half of the game.

After Springfield (11-19, 53-47) turned a 5-4-3 triple play, executed by 3B Paul DeJong, 2B Bruce Caldwell and 1B Luke Voit, to avoid trouble in the bottom of the fourth inning, Northwest Arkansas (17-13, 46-54) found a way to break through in the bottom of the fifth. C Cam Gallagher led off with a single, followed by a free pass from CF Logan Moon. One out later, both runners moved up ninety feet on a groundout, putting the runners at second and third with two away. RF Carlos Garcia then blooped a two-run single into shallow left-center field, scoring both Naturals for the 2-0 lead for Northwest Arkansas.

LHP Eric Stout (W, 5-3) kept the Naturals narrow lead intact with scoreless innings in the sixth and seventh, tossing three total scoreless stanzas out of the Northwest Arkansas bullpen.

RHP Evan Beal (S, 1) took over on the mound in the top of the eighth and picked up right where Stout left off, dealing a pair of perfect innings to close the 2-0 win for the Naturals.