SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — 3B Evan Mendoza and SS Tommy Edman both went yard, helping the Springfield Cardinals top the Northwest Arkansas Naturals, 5-3, before 4,721 fans at Arvest Ballpark on Thursday night.
The Cardinals (30-29) move back into a tie with the Arkansas Travelers for 1st place in the North Division First Half Standings with just 11 games remaining in the half.
Springfield struck first in the top of the third with an RBI base hit from RF Thomas Spitz, scoring 1B Chris Chinea from third base. 3B Evan Mendoza then doubled the lead with a solo blast to left field in the fourth, his first-career Double-A home run to make it 2-0.
RHP Connor Jones started his night by no-hitting the Naturals (28-31) through his first 4.1 frames, before Northwest Arkansas broke through in the fifth with two singles and an RBI double from DH Brandon Downes, halving the Cardinals lead to 2-1.
The Cardinals got the run right back in the top of the sixth when SS Tommy Edman led off the frame with a solo home run to right field, making it a 3-1 Springfield lead.
However, the Naturals squared it in the bottom of the sixth with RBI singles from RF Elier Hernandez and LF Anderson Miller. Jones got out of the inning with no further damage, closing his quality start with just three runs in six frames, exiting with the game tied at 3-3.
After a scoreless seventh, the Cardinals reclaimed the advantage in the top of the eighth. Spitz started the stanza with a triple to right field, promptly tagging and scoring on an RBI sacrifice fly from Edman. One out later, CF Lane Thomas extended the inning with a single, before stealing second and subsequently scoring on an RBI double from Mendoza, padding the lead to 5-3.
LHP Colton Thomson (S, 2) took over for the eighth and slammed the door with a pair of scoreless innings, closing the 5-3 win for the Cardinals. RHP Chris Ellis (W, 4-0) tossed a perfect seventh inning out of the bullpen to earn the win.