Tuesday, August 03, 2010

SPORTS>>Travs close homestand on upswing

Leader sports editor

The latest homestand ended well, at least, for the Arkansas Travelers.

Four Travelers pitchers combined on a shutout as Arkansas outlasted the Tulsa Drillers 1-0 at Dickey-Stephens Park on Monday to earn a split of the four-game series.

Starter Andrew Taylor and relievers Jeremy Berg, Ismael Carmona and Jordan Walden held Tulsa to seven hits, 1 for 11 with runners in scoring position, while Charlton Jimerson was 3 for 4 with two doubles and scored the only run.

Arkansas was in Springfield for three games with the Cardinals beginning Tuesday night and travels to Northwest Arkansas for three before returning, after an off day, Aug. 11.

Taylor (1-3) went six innings scattering five hits to get his first victory Monday and Walden got his eighth save and second in two days. Brandon Durden (4-8) started for Tulsa, and Jimerson got to him with a double in the second inning and scored when Roberto Lopez doubled to right-center.

Arkansas made the lead hold up the rest of the way, though it squandered a scoring chance and stranded two in the fourth. The Drillers stranded two in the fifth.

Walden was on the mound to start the ninth and gave up a walk to Jason Van Kooten, thepotential tying run, and Van Kooten reached second on a fielder’s-choice groundout. But Radames Nazario grounded out to end the game.

It was Arkansas’ second consecutive victory over Tulsa after dropping the first two on Friday and Saturday.

The Travelers held the Drillers to three hits in Sunday’s 4-1 victory. Arkansas scored three runs in the eighth, breaking a 1-1 tie with Nick Gorneault’s second RBI single.

Gorneault, a Traveler in 2003-04 who re-signed with the Los Angeles Angels in the preseason, returned to the Angels’ Class
AAA team in Salt Lake after Sunday’s victory.

Trevor Reckling, a Texas League all-star and Futures Game participant last year, continued to return to form Sunday after he was demoted from Salt Lake earlier this year.

Reckling, a left-hander, went four innings and gave up one run and one hit. But he did not return after a 44-minute lightning delay and Arkansas turned it over to the bullpen.

Steven Geltz gave up one hit and struck out six in 2 2/3 innings, Carmona pitched 1 1/3 innings to get the victory and Walden worked the ninth for the save.

Tulsa won Friday’ game 3-1 and beat the Travs 7-3 on Saturday. The Travelers went 1-2 against Springfield in the three-game set that opened the homestand and concluded their latest Dickey-Stephens stint 3-4.

The Travelers (15-22) are last in the four-team Texas League North Division second-half standings, seven games behind Northwest Arkansas, which has already clinched a playoff spot after winning the first half.

If Northwest Arkansas wins both halves, the North Division wild card will be the team with second-best division record over the entire season.