Weekly Record: 4-3
Overall Record: 51-72
Second Half Record: 20-35 (4th, 10.5 GB)
The Naturals had a solid week finishing with a winning record. They split the series at Arkansas 2-2 before winning the series at home against Tulsa 2-1. With 15 games remaining on the season, they have a chance to make the playoffs but the chances are very remote as they are still 10.5 GB. True, they just have to be in second place if Arkansas is in first at the end, but Tulsa is tied for 1st currently. So you’re saying there’s a chance…
On Monday, the Naturals were shutout 3-0. Scott Blewett took the loss pitching 4.1 innings allowing 3 runs, 2 earned, on 4 hits and 2 walks. Blewett also had 7 strikeouts. JC Cloney and Holden Capps threw the last 3.2 innings without giving up a run. Khalil Lee stole his 44th base of the season and went 2 for 4. Dairon Blanco also had 2 hits for the Naturals. Gabriel Cancel had his 28th double on the season as well.
On Tuesday, the Naturals again were shutout. Emmanuel Rivera had 2 hits including a double. Nate Esposito also had 2 hits for the Naturals. Khalil Lee had the only other hit and stole his 45th base of the year. Jackson Kowar was tagged with the hard luck loss going 5.0 innings and allowing 2 runs on 6 hits and 1 walk. Kowar also had 6 strikeouts. Emilio Ogando and Tyler Zuber threw the last 3.0 innings giving up 2 hits and striking out 4 combined.
Wednesday marked a change in luck for the Naturals as they were the ones shutting out the opponent this time. Brady Singer went 7.0 innings without allowing a run in the 3-0 win. Singer allowed just 4 hits and 1 walk while striking out 9 batters. Grant Gavin threw a scoreless inning striking out 2 and Zuber earned the save. Jordan George had a multi-hit game for the Naturals with 2 singles. He also walked. DJ Burt drove in a run and was on base twice stealing his 24th bag.
Gerson Garabito earned a win on Thursday for the Naturals. Garabito went 5.0 innings allowing 2 runs on 5 hits and 4 walks in the 5-2 victory. He struck out 8 in his outing. Zach Lovvorn, Capps, Franco Terrero, and Andres Sotillet worked 4.0 scoreless innings to finish out the game. Sotillet earned his first save. Lee didn’t manage a hit but did manage to steal his 46th, 47th, and 48th bases of the season in this one. Cancel hit his 18th homer of the year and stole his 14th base of the season. Cancel still has an outside shot at a 20/20 season. Kevin Merrell has 2 hits for the Naturals and stole a base.
George doubled home Blake Perkins in the bottom of the 10th inning on Friday night giving the Naturals a 3-2 walk-off victory. Daniel Tillo enjoyed the win in relief throwing 3.0 innings allowing 2 runs. JC Cloney started the game and went 7.0 innings of 1-hit ball with no walks and 5 strikeouts. Lee, Rivera, George, and Burt all had 2 hit games for the Naturals. No other Naturals had hits.
The Drillers evened the series up with a 6-2 win on Saturday. Naturals starting pitcher Scott Blewett went 5.2 innings giving up all 4 runs he allowed in the 6th inning. Blewett allowed 5 hits, walked 1, and struck out 7. Gavin only managed 0.2 innings giving up 2 runs on 3 hits. Ogando was able to work 2.2 innings without allowing a run. The Naturals had 5 hits on the day but one of them was Cancel’s 29th double. He is looking at a season with 30 doubles and 20 home runs if things continue in this direction.
Sunday’s rubber game went to the Naturals again on a walk-off with a 9-8 score. Rivera singled in Cancel who was on second base as the ITB runner (international tie-breaker). I hate ITB by the way. Kowar managed only a 3.0 inning start for the Naturals giving up only 2 runs but allowing 7 hits and walking 1. Kowar threw 69 pitches and recorded 3 strikeouts. Zuber vultured a win after giving up a solo homer and an 8-7 lead in the top of the 9th. The Naturals walked 6 times and had 7 hits. Lee hit his milestone stolen base stealing his 49th and 50th. Blanco stole his 28th and Merrell got his 20th. Perkins had a strong day going 3-4 with his first double-A home run. Emmanuel Rivera also had two hits.