Yepez homers again, Cardinals drop series finale 12-5 to Naturals
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3/SPRINGFIELD CARDINALS) - Juan Yepez homered for the second time in three games and the third time this season in a 12-5 Springfield Cardinals loss to the Northwest Arkansas Naturals on Sunday afternoon at Hammons Field.
Yepez’s blast to left provided an early spark, pulling the Cardinals within a pair of runs at 5-3 after falling behind 5-0 in the first inning and a half. Springfield’s rally continued in the third on RBI singles by 1B Luken Baker and LF Nick Plummer, tying the game 5-5.
Baker singled twice in the game, going 2-for-3 with a walk and extending his hitting streak to five games. Baker is 9-for-15 over the streak and has two hits in four straight games.
SS Delvin Perez and RF Alec Burleson joined Baker with two hits apiece. Perez was 2-for-4 with a run and his team-leading fifth steal of the season. Burleson went 2-for-3 with a run, extending his hit streak to four games.
After a scoreless fourth, the Naturals extended their lead to 9-5 with a four-run fifth, getting runs on a solo shot by DH MJ Melendez and a 3-run homer by C Tyler Cropley.
Cardinals starter LHP Connor Thomas (0-2) was pulled in the fifth inning after allowing eight runs (6 earned) on 10 hits, two walks and four strikeouts over 4.0 innings. It was the first time this season that Thomas did not throw at least 5.0 innings, and was the first time this season that he issued more than one walk in a start.
The Naturals added their final three runs in the seventh off a 3B Bhret Bewley RBI ground out, a CF Rudy Martin RBI double and a 2B Clay Dungan RBI single to reach the 12-5 final.
RHP Peyton Gray (1-2) was credited with the win for Northwest Arkansas despite allowing five runs on six hits over 3.1 relief innings. Gray replaced Naturals starter RHP Jonathan Bowlan, who was removed after 0.2 innings.
The Cardinals travel to Wichita on Tuesday for their first-ever road series against the Wind Surge. Springfield returns home Tuesday, June 1 for the first game of a 12-game homestand. Hammons Field will open up to full capacity for the first time in 2021 on June 1, a Great Southern Bank $1 Dog Day.
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