HR Roll Call: Samir Duenez (16)
Midland RockHounds 5 NW Arkansas Naturals 3
Midland up 1-0 (best of 5)
The Naturals started their championship series Tuesday with a home game against the Midland RockHounds. Things didn’t start well for starter Yender Caramo, giving up a pair of one-out singles and a two-out double that drove in two runs to give Midland a quick lead. The Naturals answered in the bottom half of the inning with a pair of doubles from Corey Toups and Mauricio Ramos prior to a sac fly by Ryan O’Hearn to tie the game. The two teams exchanged runs in the second and third innings with Samir Duenez hitting his sixteenth home run of the season.
Tied at three in the sixth, an error by the third baseman Ramos put Midland in good position as the first two hitters in the inning reached. Another single off Caramo drove in a run while pushing him out of the game with two on and no outs. Reliever Tim Hill got a force out, but gave up another hit to push the deficit to 5-3. The Naturals threatened in the ninth, getting a one-out double by O’Hearn and a two-out scoring single by Duenez to slice the lead to a run, but they failed to push anything else across to fall in the first game of the series.
Samir Duenez 2-4, HR, 2 RBI
Ryan O’Hearn 1-3, R, RBI
Corey Toups 1-4, R, 2b