SPRINGDALE -- Northwest Arkansas grabbed a six-run lead and held on against the Arkansas Travelers on Friday.
Bobby Witt Jr. slammed a three-run home run after the Naturals scored five in the third in an 8-7 victory at Arvest Ballpark. Witt connected for his 16th home run of the season in the fourth inning to put Naturals ahead 8-2.
The Travs pulled to within 8-7 in the seventh after an RBI triple by Jake Scheiner and an RBI single from Carter Bins.
Arkansas' comeback attempt was stopped by relievers Collin Snider and Carlos Sanabria, who pitched a scoreless ninth inning to earn his second save. Sanabria hit a batter with one out in the ninth inning before the game ended on a 4-6-3 double play.
"[Snider] shut them down in the eighth, and Sanabria came on in the ninth and got the double play ball to end it," Northwest Arkansas Manager Scott Thorman said.
MJ Melendez came close to hitting a grand slam in the eighth inning for Northwest Arkansas, but his long drive to right field was caught on the warning track by Julio Rodriguez.
Scheiner had three hits for the Travs while Rodrigez added a home run.
Travs starter Brandon Williamson got off to a strong start when he struck out six of the first seven batters he faced. But the left-hander form Welcome, Minn., began to unravel in the third when the Naturals scored five runs.
Williamson contributed to his own downfall when threw wildly past first base to allow the first run to score for Northwest Arkansas. Melendez, Dairon Blanco and Blake Perkins each hit doubles in the inning against Williamson, who threw two wild pitches.
The Travs scored a single run before Bobby Witt Jr. blasted a three-run home run to put the Naturals ahead 8-2 after four innings.
Arkansas took a 1-0 lead in the first inning when Julio Rodriguez slammed a home run to center field off Drew Parrish. The blow was another display of athleticism from Rodriguez, a native of the Dominican Republic who will represent his country during the Olympic Games in Tokyo later this month.
Josh Morgan added an RBI single before Scheiner was credited with a two-run single in the fifth after his popup apparently got lost in the lights and fell between Naturals second baseman Clay Dungan and Nick Pratto, the first baseman.
Parrish (2-2) allowed 6 hits and 4 runs in 5 innings to earn the victory for Northwest Arkansas.
AT NW ARKANSAS NATURALS
WHEN 6:05 p.m.
WHERE Arvest Ballpark, Springdale
ON THE AIR naturals.com
PITCHERS Arkansas — Devin Sweet (RHP 2-4, 5.43 ERA). Northwest Arkansas — Austin Cox (LHP 0-1, 4.19).
TICKETS Dugout super premium ticket, $13.75 day of game; dugout premium ticket, $11.75 day of game; 1B/3B reserved ticket, $9.75 day of game; general admission, $8.75 day of game.
PROMOTIONS Growlin’ Chickens bat breakin’ bobblehead distributed to first 750 fans through the gates. BBQ sliders for $1.50 or six for $6 during bullpen party stand in left field.
NATURALS THIS WEEK
TODAY vs. Arkansas, 6:05 p.m.
SUNDAY vs. Arkansas, 2:05 p.m.
MONDAY Off day
TUESDAY at Tulsa, 7:05 p.m.
WEDNESDAY at Tulsa, 7:05 p.m.
THURSDAY at Tulsa, 7:05 p.m.
FRIDAY at Tulsa, 7:05 p.m.