July 14, 2024

NWA Naturals – Naturals Win Series Opener With Wichita

 

The Naturals Win Third Straight Game

Coming off a series split with San Antonio, the Northwest Arkansas Naturals {11-11} have confidence as they welcome a league opponent, the Wichita Wind Surge, starting Tuesday, for a six-game series. In the early season, the Wind Surge, who are now 9-13, have been the only team in the conference, the Texas League, to face the Naturals. On Tuesday, NWA would get a win, 6-4, before a record-high attendance this season. We will discuss the win and what went well for the Naturals, the attendance and ways the Naturals can continue to see these crowds, and when game two will begin and who will be on the mound. Let’s find out how the Naturals got the win to start the series. 

How Did The Naturals Win? 

On The Mound

On the day from the mound, the Naturals allowed 8 hits, 4 runs, 5 walks, 14 strikeouts, and 2 HRs. The 14 Ks make this the 6th straight game of ten or more strikeouts. The Naturals are second in the league in Ks, with 233, and were the first team to reach 200 on the season. 

The Naturals would start the game strong on the mound as Daniel Lynch would make his rehab start from the Royals as he was placed on the IL on Match 27th. This was the Naturals debut for the former #4 overall pick of the 2018 draft. In this debut, Lynch would finish the day allowing 4 hits, 2 runs, 2 walks, and 1 groundout. The left-hander would face 12 batters while throwing 59 pitches with 37 being for strikes. Lynch did allow a home run in the top of the 2nd to put the Surge up early. Lynch would exit the game after 2.1 innings in an impressive debut in Northwest Arkansas. 

Following Lynch on the mound would be four Naturals pitchers from the bullpen. In what is already a depleted starting rotation due to injury, these relief pitchers would throw an effective game. Dante Biasi would make his 8th appearance of the season, and pick up his 2nd win of 2023, as he would pitch for one inning. Biasi would allow 1 run, 1 walk, and 1 fly out and ground out each. Biasi would face a total of four batters throwing 16 pitches with 10 being for a strike. 

Ronald Medrano would take the mound work the most in relief of the pitchers as he would work 2.2 innings. Medrano would allow 3 hits 1 run, 1 walk, 1 HR, and 1 ground, and fly out each. In the 13 batters faced and 56 total pitches, Medrano would use 33 strikes to lead the Naturals in Ks with 3 on the day. Medrano would be followed by Jonah Dipito. Dipito would work one inning in the win. In that inning, Dipito would face 4 batters allowing 1 hit, 1 groundout, and having 2 Ks. 

Jacob Wallace would make his tenth appearance of 2023 throwing one inning to set up the close for the Naturals. Wallace would face 3 batters throwing 11 pitches total. He would use 10 of these pitches for strikes leading to his 1 K on the day. Wallace would also have one fly out in his appearance. He would once again do his job to get to the save opportunity. 

In that same opportunity is one man for the Naturals, Steven Cruz. Cruz would get his 2nd save of 2023 by shutting down the Surge for the win pitching one inning with 1 K. Cruz would face 4 batters throwing 19 total pitches with 10 being for strikes. 

Producing Runs

From the plate as of late, the Naturals have been producing runs for their above pitching. To further this point, the Naturals would finish the day with 11 hits, 6 runs, and 6 RBIs in 34 at-bats. Following the win today, the Naturals are now 7th in the league with a .248 batting average and have scored 138 runs on the season while allowing only 128. In today’s win, the Naturals had some players perform well from the plate. Let’s take a look at them. 

Jorge Bonifacio, the number six batter in the Texas League, led the Naturals today by going 2/3 from the plate. Bonifacio would walk in the bottom of the second followed by a single that would score Peyton Wilson to take the lead, 3-2, in the bottom of the third. Bonifacio would assist on the final run for the Naturals when he got his last single to center to score John Rave. That score would put the Naturals up 6-4 which would be the final score. 

The Naturals have been a team of streaks from the plate in 2023. Coming into today’s game, NWA has to hit streaks by Tyler Tolbert, with seven, since April 21st, and Jimmy Govern, with nine, since April 15th. In today’s game, Govern would finish 0/4 from the plate with 1 K to end his streak while Tolbert would continue his streak to 8 games with his only hit, a single, in the bottom of the 3rd. 

Season Record Attendance 

What made the impact today? 

The Naturals would see a 2023 record attendance of 5,121 fans in attendance. Today’s promotion was ‘Education Day’ as today is “National Teachers Appreciation Day’ as well as ‘National Reading Week’ for schools. In attendance were teachers and students from multiple school districts to enjoy a beautiful day of baseball. At first pitch, at 11:05 am, the sun was out and fans were buzzing. There was crowd participation and the Kids Zone in left field was jam-packed. It was great to see the Naturals home stadium, Arvest Ballpark, packed with fans. This will be a theme this season as in two weeks, on April 16th,  against the Springfield Cardinals, the Naturals will host another ‘Education Day’ with the first pitch at 11:05 am. 

How Does This Continue? 

NWA does an adequate job of finding ways to attract fans to their games. Whether it utilizing local schools on days like today as well as Marvel and Los Naturales to celebrate the Hispanic culture in the local demographic, today shows that when the weather is right the game of baseball will be watched. With the team now winning its third game the wins will draw even more fans in. As we discussed in another piece, the Royals MILB system is loaded with talent that will be in NWA soon. This will boost the crowd because of former Arkansas Razorbacks being back close as well as top talent in the organization. The Naturals should be excited about the attendance today as well as the above-mentioned performance by the team moving forward in this series and season. 

What Is Next? 

A beautiful night at Arvest Ballpark – Photo Credits – Wes Pruett / 4SSM

Game two of the series will take place tomorrow night, beginning at 7:05 pm, at Arvest Ballpark. On the mound for the Naturals will be RHP Andrew Hoffman {2-2, 4.67 ERA} and the Wind Surge will have LHP Aaron Rozek {0-1, 13.50 ERA}. This game will feature Baseball Bingo as well as Kids Eat Free so we expect another great crowd for a night of baseball. 

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