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SPRINGDALE -- Johendi Jiminian allowed five hits over six-plus innings and the Arkansas Travelers clinched the Texas League North Division championship with a 7-1 victory over the Northwest Arkansas Naturals on Tuesday night at Arvest Ballpark.

The Travelers and Naturals were tied for first place in the North Division after the first half ended Monday night. Tuesday's winner in the opening game of the second half determined the first-half champion.

"It took us 71 games instead of 70," Travs Manager Daren Brown said in a video posted on the team's Twitter account. "But I've always felt like clinching is not easy. The last couple of days we lost some tough ones, but the guys came out today and got after it from the get-go."

Arkansas, which lost the first two games of the four-game series 4-3 on Sunday and 11-10 on Monday, got to Northwest Arkansas starter Emilio Ogando early Tuesday.

Chuck Taylor singled with one out. Two batters later, Joey Curletta hit a two-run home run to right field to give the Travs a 2-0 lead.

The Travs added four runs in the third inning for a 6-0 advantage. Ogando was pulled with one out after Chris Mariscal and Beau Amaral each had two RBI hits in the inning. Ogando allowed 6 runs on 7 hits in 2 1/3 innings, increasing his earned run average to 6.54.

"He needs to get the ball out of the middle of the plate," Naturals Manager Mike Rojas said. "It's part of development. He's going through some growing pains right now. We just got to continue to work with him and get him better because right now what he's doing isn't him."

The Naturals had the bases loaded with no outs in the seventh inning but couldn't chip away at the deficit, as Travs relievers Bryan Bonnell and Daniel Schlereth worked out of the jam unscathed.

Jimenez (4-3) allowed a sacrifice fly to Nicky Lopez in the sixth inning, but that was it as he kept the Naturals at bay.

"They pitched very well and shut us down," Rojas said. "It's unfortunate you have to have a one-game playoff after you tie the division, instead of head-to-head, but that's the rules. They came out swinging and won the game."

The Travs will host Game 1 and Game 2 of the Texas League North Division Series on Sept. 5-6 at Dickey-Stephens Park in North Little Rock.

Today’s game

ARKANSAS TRAVELERS

AT NW ARKANSAS NATURALS

WHEN 12:05 p.m.

WHERE Arvest Ballpark, Springdale

RADIO KARN-AM, 920, in central Arkansas; KQSM-FM, 92.1, in NW Arkansas

PITCHERS Travs: RHP Williams Perez (1-0, 2.70 ERA); Naturals: LHP Jake Kalish (3-3, 4.63 ERA).

TRAVS WEEK AHEAD

TODAY at NW Arkansas, 12:05 p.m.

THURSDAY at Springfield, 7:10 p.m.

FRIDAY at Springfield, 7:10 p.m.

SATURDAY at Springfield, 6:10 p.m.

SUNDAY at Springfield, 6:10 p.m.

MONDAY Off

TUESDAY Texas League All-Star Game at Midland, Texas, 7:15 p.m.

NATURALS WEEK AHEAD

TODAY vs. Arkansas, 12:05 p.m.

THURSDAY at Tulsa, 7:05 p.m.

FRIDAY at Tulsa, 7:05 p.m.

SATURDAY at Tulsa, 7:05 p.m.

SUNDAY at Tulsa, 1:05 p.m.

MONDAY Off

TUESDAY Texas League All-Star Game at Midland, Texas, 7:15 p.m.

Sports on 06/20/2018

Print Headline: Travelers triumph, clinch 1st-half title

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