It's been a while since the Arkansas Travelers last had an All-Star break.
The Texas League hasn't held an all-star game since 2019 -- after covid-19 canceled the 2020 campaign, the league played right through June and July last season.
The midsummer exhibition didn't return in 2022 either, but the Texas League did pause for four days earlier this week, and it couldn't have come at a more fortuitous time for the Travelers. They had lost seven straight games, including a six-game sweep at Wichita.
In theory, a handful of off days would have given the Travs time to reset.
They haven't been able to do the same with their losing skid.
The Travelers dropped their ninth straight game Saturday night at Dickey-Stephens Park in North Little Rock, falling to the Frisco RoughRiders 3-1 for the second time in as many nights. The Travs stranded 10 runners on base, including the potential tying and go-ahead runs in the bottom of the eighth inning.
It wasn't nearly as ugly as Friday -- the Travelers left 13 on base and the RoughRiders left 15 -- but there were chances to give starting pitcher Stephen Kolek some semblance of run support in an outing that was much better than his recent starts.
Kolek gave up 11 earned runs in 2 2/3 innings July 13 at Wichita and had allowed at least four runs in five of his previous six appearances.
On Saturday, the former 11th-round pick of the Los Angeles Dodgers looked like he might struggle again, at least in the early going. Kolek walked three in the first inning, and the third of which -- issued to former Arkansas Razorback Jax Biggers -- forced in the game's opening run.
But Kolek settled in from there, allowing 2 hits and 1 unearned run over his remaining 4 innings of work while striking out 4.
The Travs' lone score came in the bottom of the third when Jake Anchia led off with a double to deep center.
Patrick Frick, who went 3 for 3 with three singles, then moved Anchia to third. Two batters later, Jack Larsen's groundout allowed Anchia to score without a throw, tying things at 1-1.
The Travs didn't put another runner in scoring position until the seventh -- but with two on and no outs, the next three batters struck out.
Frisco gave itself insurance with a Justin Foscue RBI double in the top of the ninth to go up 3-1. While RoughRiders reliever Marc Church brought the winning run to the plate in the home half of the ninth after hitting Frick, he retired the next three Travs in order.