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Naturals, Travs Split Doubleheader Tuesday

September 12, 2023

Jorge Bonifacio homered as the Northwest Arkansas Naturals (32-32, 61-72) split a doubleheader with the Arkansas Travelers (26-38, 71-62), winning the first game 7-4 but dropping the second game 6-3 at Arvest Ballpark on Tuesday night. The split puts the Naturals elimination number at three games with five remaining against

Jorge Bonifacio homered as the Northwest Arkansas Naturals (32-32, 61-72) split a doubleheader with the Arkansas Travelers (26-38, 71-62), winning the first game 7-4 but dropping the second game 6-3 at Arvest Ballpark on Tuesday night. The split puts the Naturals elimination number at three games with five remaining against the Travelers, including Wednesday where the two teams will square off with a 7:05 PM CT first pitch.

The first game was a continuation of a suspended game on July 9. The Naturals and Travelers picked up the action in the bottom of the fourth with NWA leading 4-3 and William Fleming taking the mound. The big boost for the offense came in the fifth when Bonifacio hit a two-run homer, extending the lead to 6-3. Kyle Hayes followed up with a triple and scored when Tucker Bradley lifted a sac fly to left, giving NWA a 7-3 edge.

Fleming threw all five of the remaining innings in the contest, picking up a win while holding the Travelers to one run. The Naturals turned five double plays in the game, tying a franchise record.

In game two, the Travelers jumped out to a first-inning lead. Rylan Kaufman allowed a hit and walked four in the opening frame, with Arkansas scoring a pair of runs to make it a 2-0 game.

Cayden Wallace scored on a wild pitch in the second to make it a one-run game, but additional runs in the third and fourth extended the Travs' lead to 5-1. NWA scored another run on a wild pitch in the fifth and Peyton Wilson ripped a two-out double to left, bringing the tying run to the plate, but Prelander Berroa weathered the storm to finish off the game for the Travelers while dropping NWA 6-3.

The loss puts the Naturals elimination number at three with five games left in the season, meaning any combination of NWA losses paired with Springfield wins would eliminate the Naturals from postseason contention.

The Naturals and Travelers continue their series on Wednesday with a 7:05 PM CT first pitch at Arvest Ballpark. Northwest Arkansas RH Eric Cerantola (0-1. 3.00) will get the start for the Naturals.