NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – RHP Jack Flaherty dominated with six scoreless innings, helping lead the Springfield Cardinals to the 8-1 win against the Arkansas Travelers before 5,379 fans at Dickey-Stephens Park on Sunday afternoon.
The Cardinals (9-7) jumped ahead right out of the gates, striking in the top of the first against RHP Andrew Moore (L, 1-1). CF Oscar Mercado hammered the game’s first pitch over the left field fence, swinging Springfield into the 1-0 lead with a leadoff home run.
Springfield added two more runs in the top of the third. C Luis Cruz opened the inning with a double, before moving to third on a sacrifice bunt from Mercado. LF Nick Martini then pulled an RBI double to right field, plating Cruz for the 2-0 lead. Martini quickly took third on a base hit by RF Adolis Garcia, putting runners at the corners. DH Bruce Caldwell then brought in Martini with an RBI fielder’s choice, increasing the lead to 3-0.
RHP Jack Flaherty (W, 4-0) kept the Cardinals three-run lead intact through his six scoreless innings, allowing just six hits and one walk while striking out five. Flaherty extended his consecutive scoreless innings streak to 16.2 straight frames, lowering his season ERA to 0.33 through his first four Double-A starts.
Springfield kept swinging away with two more runs in the top of the seventh against rehabbing Seattle Mariners RHP Steve Cishek, a former St. Louis Cardinal from the 2015 season. With one away, Garcia singled himself on. After Caldwell worked a walk, 3B Jacob Wilson pulled an RBI single and 2B Eliezer Alvarez slugged an RBI double, stretching the lead to 5-0.
The Travs (8-8) plated one on a wild pitch against RHP Blake McKnight in the bottom of the seventh, but the Cardinals stretched it right back out in the top of the eighth. Facing RHP Blake Perry, Mercado worked a walk and quickly stole second base to get into scoring position. One out later, Garcia lined an RBI single to left field, his third hit of the day, bringing in Mercado for the 6-1 lead. Caldwell followed with his third walk of the game, before he and Garcia both scored on a two-run error by CF Chuck Taylor, padding the Cardinals lead to 8-1.
McKnight then bounced back with a scoreless bottom of the eighth, followed by a perfect bottom of the ninth from LHP Chandler Hawkins to close the decisive 8-1 win for the Cardinals.
The Cardinals continue the road trip in Northwest Arkansas on Monday with a 7:10pm First Pitch.