HOME OPENER: Springfield Cardinals fall 11-8 to Northwest Arkansas Naturals

Published: Apr. 8, 2022 at 7:25 PM CDT|Updated: Apr. 8, 2022 at 10:54 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - The Northwest Arkansas Naturals play spoiler in a brisk Opening Day at Hammons Field, defeating the Springfield Cardinals, 11-8.

Northwest Arkansas rallied for seven runs in the final three innings to erase a four-run deficit and score six unanswered runs.

The Springfield Cardinals showed some promising signs on offense, scoring at least one run each frame between the second and sixth innings. Malcolm Nunez had a strong season debut with two hits, one run, two RBI and a walk in four plate appearances. Outfielders Chase Pinder and Matt Koperniak both delivered home runs during Springfield’s early scoring spree.

Top prospect Jordan Walker drew the start at third base, but came up hitless on Opening Day. Walker, ranked as the 30th overall prospect spot on MLB.com’s 2022 list, made a diving play to his right in the third inning. After slugging his way to AA with a .317 batting average last year, he told the Ozarks Sports Zone earlier he hopes to make improvements on his fielding.

Connor Lunn started for Springfield and limited damage from Northwest Arkansas. He allowed 3 earned runs over 4.1 innings and struck out five. Grant Black suffered the loss after entering the seventh inning midway through Northwest Arkansas’s rally and allowing three runs.

Temperatures dipped to the low 40s by first pitch. Around 3,600 bundled up and braved the cold at Hammons Field in a matchup of the St. Louis Cardinals’ and Kansas City Royals’ Double-A affiliates.

Check the photo gallery above for pregame photos.

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