SPRINGDALE Everett Teaford was named Northwest Arkansas’ pitcher of the year earlier this week, and he showed why Thursday.
Teaford allowed a run on two hits 2 in 6 /3 innings Thursday in the Naturals’ 7-1 victory over the Arkansas Travelers in the opening game of a doubleheader at Arvest Ballpark. The Naturals completed the sweep with a rain shortened 5-0 victory in the nightcap.
Teaford (14-3), who leads the Texas League in victories, didn’t allow a hit by Arkansas (27-39) until Andrew Romine led off the sixth inning with a line-drive single. He later scored on a double by Roberto Lopez.
“Teaford changed speeds, his fastball location was good, and his curveball was a good pitch tonight,” Naturals Manager Brian Poldberg said. “He was aggressive.”
Teaford struck out six and walked two while lowering his ERA to 3.36.
“I feel comfortable out there,” Teaford said. “I’m throwing strikes with all of my pitches and not even getting to some pitches. Getting ahead of guys is the main thing.”
The Naturals (41-25) got ahead early against Travelers left-hander Manuel Flores (1-4), scoring four runs in the second inning.
Paulo Orlando reached on a fielder’s choice, moved to second on a Manny Pina single, stole third and scored on a wild pitch. Pina scored on a twoout single by Chris McConnell. After a Derrick Robinson single, Johnny Giavotella doubled to score McConnell and Robinson.
“We didn’t make a couple plays and they ended up leading to a fourrun inning,” Travelers Manager Bobby Magallanes said. “But [Flores] definitely pitched well, too.”
Giavotella had a one-out double in the fourth and scored on an error after an Eric Hosmer hit to give NorthwestArkansas a 7-0 lead.
The Naturals had scored two in the third on a sacrifice fly and a groundout.
Giavotella had three of the Naturals’ 11 hits. He also made a slick fielding play at second base on a Ryan Mount grounder to end the second inning, saving a hit and a run after Lopez advanced to third after drawing a leadoff walk.
“Johnny just continues to use the whole field,” Poldberg said. “He’s doing everything. He made a nice play defensively to save what would’ve been a run early in the game, then a two-RBI double down to left field and a hit down to right.
“He just continues to do it.”
Giavotella didn’t let up in the second game, going 2 for 3 with a home run, his third of the week and ninth of the season.