Flaherty pitches Springfield back into first place

RHP Jack Flaherty dealt 7.2 scoreless innings to help lead the Springfield Cardinals to the 4-0 shutout win against the Northwest Arkansas Naturals before 3,179 fans at Hammons Field on Monday afternoon. With their fifth shutout win of the season, the Cardinals move back into sole possession of 1st place in the North Division, one game in front of Northwest Arkansas.

Flaherty (W, 7-1) and Naturals LHP Emilio Ogando (L, 1-1) dueled back and forth through three scoreless innings, before the Cardinals (23-19) cracked the scoreless tie in the bottom of the fourth. With two on and two down, C Gabriel Lino and LF Oscar Mercado connected on consecutive RBI singles, opening a 2-0 lead for Springfield.

Flaherty continued to keep the Naturals (22-20) bats quiet with scoreless frames in the fifth and sixth, before the Cardinals padded the lead in the bottom of the sixth. Facing RHP Reid Redman, 3B Jacob Wilson slammed his seventh home run to left field, a solo shot to make it 3-0.

Following a seventh scoreless stanza slung by Flaherty, the Cardinals powered even further in front. With one away and the bases empty, RF Adolis Garcia slugged a solo home run, his second straight game with a long-ball and his fifth homer of the year overall, extending the advantage to 4-0.

Flaherty retired the first two batters in the top of the eighth, but a two-out single from DH Ruben Sosa, Jr. brought an end to Flaherty’s performance. RHP Kevin Herget took over and quickly got out of the eighth, before dealing a scoreless ninth to close the 4-0 shutout win for Springfield.