Springfield, Mo. (Springfield Cardinals Sports Information) -- The Northwest Arkansas Naturals topped the Springfield Cardinals, 6-2, before 5,085 fans at Hammons Field on Thursday night.
After both Springfield RHP Seth Blair (L, 0-3) and Northwest Arkansas LHP Justin Marks (W, 2-0) alternated three scoreless innings apiece, the Naturals (7-13) got on the board first in the top of the fourth. With two down and the bases empty, RF Yem Prades hit a solo home run to left field, lifting the Naturals to the 1-0 advantage.
Northwest Arkansas built on the lead with three runs in the top of the fifth. After LF Roman Hernandez doubled himself on, 3B Angel Franco quickly brought him home with an RBI double. A hit batter and a sacrifice bunt put two men on with one away, and Blair quickly logged the second out on a strikeout to SS Orlando Calixte. The Cardinals then intentionally walked DH Rey Navarro, loading the bases. However, C Mitch Canham worked an RBI free pass against Blair, and then Prades did the same against RHP Kevin Thomas, stretching the Naturals lead to 4-0.
The Cardinals (10-10) began chipping away immediately, getting on the board in the bottom of the fifth. Leading off the frame, C Audry Perez launched a solo home run over the right field wall, cutting the deficit down to 4-1.
After the Naturals stretched the lead with a two-run homer by 1B Matt Fields in the top of the eighth, the Cardinals responded with a solo shot by CF Tommy Pham in the bottom of the frame. However, RHP Edwin Carl took over on the mound for the Naturals and dealt 1.1 scoreless frames to close the 6-2 win.
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