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Hernandez Heroics in 11th Lift NWA Walk-off Win Wednesday

September 14, 2023

Deigo Hernandez singled in the 11th inning of Wednesday night's extra-inning walk-off to give the Northwest Arkansas Naturals (33-32, 62-72) a 6-5 win over the Arkansas Travelers (26-39, 71-63) at Arvest Ballpark. The Naturals are 3.0 games behind the first-place Springfield Cardinals for the final North Division playoff spot and

Deigo Hernandez singled in the 11th inning of Wednesday night's extra-inning walk-off to give the Northwest Arkansas Naturals (33-32, 62-72) a 6-5 win over the Arkansas Travelers (26-39, 71-63) at Arvest Ballpark. The Naturals are 3.0 games behind the first-place Springfield Cardinals for the final North Division playoff spot and have an elimination number of two.

The Naturals jumped out to an early lead thanks to Jorge Bonifacio's RBI single in the first and added to the lead in the fifth with a pair of runs to take a 3-0 lead. Eric Cerantola started the game, throwing 5.0 shutout inning, holding the Travelers to two hits with seven strikeouts.

The Traves came back in the sixth and seventh, tying the game against the NWA bullpen. Noah Murdock and Anderson Paulino kept the game tied in the eighth and ninth, though, forcing extra innings.

The Travs took a one-run lead in the 10th when Alberto Rodriguez singled to right and the Naturals answered in the bottom of the inning when Cayden Wallace ripped a two-out triple to score Hernandez, tying the game.

Arkansas took the lead again in the 11th, but the Naturals had a response and then dome. Dillan Shrum walked with Jeison Guzman on second and Leonel Valera grounded into a fielder's choice, sending Guzman to third while Shrum was out at second. Kyle Hayes walked to load the bases and Javier Vaz reached on an infield single, sliding into first base while Guzman scored to tie the game.

Hernandez came to the plate and ripped a ground ball to left on the first pitch he saw, scoring Valera to give the Naturals a 6-5 walk-off win.

The Naturals elimination number is down to two game after Springfield won on Wednesday, but Springfield holds the tiebreaker between NWA and the Cardinals. The Naturals playoff hopes hinge on either Wichita and Springfield losing their remaining four games, or Springfield losing their remaining games and Wichita winning out while NWA has two win all four of their remaining contests.

The series continues on Thursday with a 7:05 PM CT first pitch at Arvest Ballpark with RHP Mason Barnett getting the start for the Naturals.