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story.lead_photo.caption NWA Democrat-Gazette/BEN GOFF @NWABENGOFF Naturals third baseman Jecksson Flores hits a line drive Wednesday against the Travelers at Arvest Ballpark in Springdale.

SPRINGDALE -- Not even an afternoon downpour could stop the Northwest Arkansas Naturals.

The Naturals scored four runs in the fourth inning and went on to defeat Arkansas 5-4 in eight innings Wednesday at Arvest Ballpark. A crowd of 7,798 was bolstered on education day by the appearance of area school children and their teachers, who received discounted tickets.

Most of the school children had left in buses when the umpires called the game in the eighth inning after a delay of 1 hour, 2 minutes.

Jeckson Flores had a run-scoring single in the fourth inning for Northwest Arkansas to extend his hitting streak to 12 consecutive games. No. 9 hitter Luis Villegas added an RBI single and a sacrifice fly for the Naturals (17-21), who've won eight of their last 11 games.

"(Villegas) has been clutch pretty much all year," Northwest Arkansas manager Mike Rojas said. "He's doing it with two outs and he continued that today. Our guys are grinding every day. We're playing good baseball right now."

Northwest Arkansas starter Zach Lovvorn (2-2) pitched six innings and allowed eight hits and three earned runs. Logan Taylor went 3 for 4 for Arkansas (19-19), which outhit the Naturals 10-6.

Flores tied the game 1-1 with a single in the fourth. A second run scored on a poor throw to third base by pitcher Chase De Jong and a third run scored on a passed ball by catcher Joe DeCarlo.

Villegas drove in the fourth run of the inning with a two-out single to left field. Villegas added a sacrifice fly in the sixth after Dario Pizzano hit a two-run double in the top of the inning for Arkansas.

SHORT HOPS

• Not once, not twice, but three times.

That's how many times Naturals designated hitter Nick Dini was hit by a pitch in Wednesday's game. Dini, a right-handed batter, was plucked three times by Arkansas starter Chase De Jong, a right-handed pitcher.

Dini avoided being hit a fourth time when he lined a single in the eighth inning off Arkansas reliever Matt Temula, a left-hander.

• Northwest Arkansas thought it had completed an inning-ending double play in the seventh, but umpire Cody Oakes saw it differently.

Oakes ruled a throw to second baseman Erick Mejia pulled Mejia off the bag before his relay to first base. A runner from third base scored on the play, cutting the Naturals' lead to 5-4.

On Deck: Scott Blewett (1-3, 5.19 ERA) will take the mound for the Naturals in tonight's 7:05 p.m. game at Arvest Ballpark. The Travelers will start Johendi Jiminian (2-2, 3:03 ERA).

Today's promotion: Thirsty Thursday features Coca-Cola fountain drinks and Pabst Blue Ribbon beer for $2.

On The Air: KQSM-FM 92.1

On The Web: www.nwanaturals.com

Sports on 05/17/2018

Print Headline: Naturals continue hot streak against Travelers

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