Springfield, MO – RHP Dakota Hudson dealt 8.0 innings to help pace the Springfield Cardinals to the 4-2 win against the Arkansas Travelers before 5,881 fans at Hammons Field on Thursday night.
Both sides exchanged an early run apiece in the opening inning, with Arkansas (1-2, 33-40) striking first with an unearned run in the top of the first. Facing RHP Dakota Hudson (W, 6-3), LF Chuck Taylor singled himself on. DH Dario Pizzano then bounced the ball back to the mound, but Hudson fired wide of second base for a throwing error that enabled runners to be safe at first and second. A single from C Tyler Marlette loaded the bases with only one away. 1B Kyle Waldrop then grounded the ball to second base, but 2B Dickie Joe Thon committed a fielding error as he tried to start a double play, enabling everyone to be safe with Taylor scoring on the play. Hudson, though, dug in with a fielder’s choice and a strikeout to navigate out of the jam with the Travs only leading, 1-0.
Springfield (1-2, 36-37) battled right back even right away in the bottom of the first frame against RHP Justin DeFratus (L, 2-3). LF Magneuris Sierra led off the frame with a double driven into the left field corner. One out later, CF Oscar Mercado sent a single into shallow right-center field, moving Sierra to third base. With 3B Bruce Caldwell at bat, the Cardinals executed a successful delayed double steal, with Mercado swiping second and Sierra racing home to tie the game, 1-1.
Both hurlers dealt scoreless frames back and forth until the Travs pulled back in front in the top of the fifth. CF Ian Miller led off with a bunt single that led to a throwing error on Hudson, allowing Miller to get to second. A wild pitch moved Miller to third, before Hudson battled back to strike out Taylor. Marlette, though, placed an RBI fielder’s choice that brought home Miller, lifting the Travs back into the lead, 2-1.
The Cardinals wasted no time responding, squaring the score in the bottom of the fifth. Leading off the inning, C Jesse Jenner belted a solo home run just inside the left field foul pole, hit second long-ball of the season to tie the game at 2-2.
Springfield then powered in front in the bottom of the sixth inning. Mercado started the inning by reaching on a strikeout and passed ball combination, with the third strike bouncing away from C Tyler Marlette. Caldwell then clobbered a two-run home run to left field for his ninth homer of the season, swinging the Cardinals into the 4-2 advantage.
Hudson kept the lead intact with two more scoreless frames, closing his eight innings on the mound with only two unearned runs on eight hits with one walk and five strikeouts. RHP Landon Beck (S, 1) followed with a scoreless ninth, earning his first-career Double-A save to close the 4-2 win for Springfield.