Tuesday, April 26, 2011

SPORTS >> Travs deal with rain, Naturals

Leader sports editor

At least the Arkansas Travelers didn’t have to travel very far to sit around.

The Travelers made the season’s first visit to Texas League rival Northwest Arkansas in Springdale only to have rainouts or postponements in three of the scheduled four days at Arvest Ballpark.

Rain on Thursday forced the playing of a Friday night doubleheader, which was plagued by three rain delays, and Arkansas earned a spit with a 6-4 victory in the first game while the Naturals won Game Two 6-1.

Saturday’s and Sunday’s action was rained out and the games will be made up in doubleheaders on May 21 and May 23 during the Travelers’ next visit to Springdale.

The Travelers got three base hits from Orlando Mercado and two RBI from Clay Fuller in their first-game victory Friday. Fuller hit his second home run of the year and had two base hits, while Mercado hit two singles along with a double and drove in two runs.

All nine Travs starters got at least one hit for a season-high 13.

Three different Naturals hit home runs in Northwest Arkansas’ second-game victory.

In the first game, the Travelers hit Naturals left-hander and former teammate Will Smith (0-2) hard, scoring five runs over four innings on ten base hits. Mike Trout hit a leadoff single in the first and came in when Darwin Perez lined a triple to left-center.

Fuller, who finished 2 for 3 with two RBI, staked Arkansas to a 2-0 lead when he led off the second with a long home run to left.Back-to-back doubles by Dillon Baird and Mercado gave the Travs a 3-0 lead.

Smith (0-2) issued a walk to Perez leading off the third, and Perez advanced to third on a single by Ryan Mount. Fuller punched a single to left to drive in Perez for a 4-0 lead.

The teams were pulled off the field for a 25-minute rain delay before the start of the fifth inning and then Mario Santiago took the mound for the Naturals.

He walked Mount, who stole second and took third when the throw got past second baseman Kurt Mertins for an error.

Mercado’s hit a two-out single to score Mount to increase the Travs’ lead to 5-0.

After allowing just four base runners through four innings, Arkansas starter Orangel Arenas walked the leadoff batter Mario Lisson following the rain delay in the fifth.Two groundouts moved Lisson to third, and he scored on Christian Colon’s infield single.

Arenas came back for the sixth and allowed a leadoff double by Jamie Romak, a two-out single by Anthony Seratelli and a three-run homer from Lisson, his fourth, to pull the Naturals within 5-4.

Arenas (2-0) gave up four runs on seven hits with three walks and one strikeout in his six innings.

The Travs got a run back in the seventh thanks to alert base running by Luis Jimenez. Jimenez hit a leadoff single and Mount sacrificed him to second.