SPRINGDALE Anthony Capra didn’t feel like his stuff was special Thursday night. His manager and his opponents felt differently.
Ca pra no-hit Northwest Arkansas for six innings, and Midland scored three unearned runs in the ninth to defeat the Naturals 5-2 at Arvest Ballpark and salvage a road split in the Texas League Championship Series.
The best of 5 series is tied 1-1 with the Game 3 set for 7 p.m. today at Midland’s CitiBank Park. Midland defeated Northwest Arkansas for last year’s championship.
Capra walked six, struck out five and gave up an unearned run. He left with a 2-1 lead but didn’t figure in the decision.
That’s because the Naturals finally got hits in the seventh inning, a leadoff single by Nick Van Stratten and a two-out single by Chris McConnell to tie the game 2-2 off reliever Mickey Storey (1-0).
They were the only hits by the Naturals, who had four home runs in a 7-2 victory in Wednesday’s series opener.
“Their pitcher did a great job against us. All of them,” Northwest Arkansas Manager Brian Poldberg said. “To have two hits and still have a chance to score in the bottom of the [seventh] and take the lead was a very strange feeling at that point the way the game was going.”
The RockHounds scored three runs in the ninth off Rowdy Hardy.
Johnny Giavotella had a throwing error on a potential double-play grounder to load the bases with one out. After Alex Valdez was forced at home for the second out, Petey Paramore lined a 3-1 pitch to centerfield to score two runs. J.C. Holt followed with an RBI single.
“Petey was patient,” Midland Manager Darren Bush said. “He didn’t expand the zone. He waited for a good pitch to hit and got it to 3-1 and didn’t miss.”
Northwest Arkansas hittersstruggled against Capra, who was surprised by his success.
“I don’t know what to say,” he said. “I was throwing absolute crap up at the plate. I don’t know if they weren’t seeing it well or it was dancing late.
“I didn’t feel like anything I threw up there was special. It was just a lucky night I guess.”
Bush disagreed, saying Capra was effective around the strike zone.