LITTLE ROCK (MILB.com) - Andy Ferguson was sharp over six innings leading the Northwest Arkansas Naturals to a 3-1 victory over the Arkansas Travelers on Tuesday night at Dickey-Stephens Park. The Benton, Arkansas, native held the Travs to one run on three hits while striking out six batters and stopped the Travs' three-game winning streak. The loss closed the Travs lead over the Naturals in the Texas League North standing to two games.
Orlando Calixte's two-run single in the third inning was the deciding base hit and matched the shortstop's RBI total from his previous 14 games against the Travs.
Ferguson stumbled early allowing two hits and two walks in the first inning. Drew Heid collected the first of his two base hits with one out in the opening frame and advanced when Brian Hernandez hit a hard one-hopper off Ferguson's arm. He recovered the ball and forced Hernandez at first base, but walked Mike Bianucci. Matt Long ripped a double down the right-field line scoring Heid and sending Bianucci to third base. A walk to Jett Bandy loaded the bases for Kaleb Cowart, and he smashed a liner that stayed up and was caught in centerfield by Ethan Chapman.
Kramer Sneed started well with outs from seven of the first eight batters, but Chapman hit a one-out single in the third inning. Cowart gloved a grounder near third base hit by Angel Franco and forced Chapman at second base. Franco beat the relay from Maikol Gonzalez to keep the inning alive, and Mitch Maier hit a single to right field. Sneed brought Calixte to the plate after a walk to Cheslor Cuthbert. Sneed's third pitch to Calixte was lined into left field scoring two runs giving the Naturals a 2-1 lead.
A pair of walks gave Hunter Dozier a chance in the fifth inning and he punched a two-out single to center to score Maier for a 3-1 lead for the Naturals.
Sneed was charged with his third straight loss to fall to 6-9.
Ferguson was stellar after the first inning allowing just two of the last 15 batters he faced to reach base. He had two double plays behind him. Adam Melker led off the second inning with a single, but was forced out at second when Ferguson slightly deflected a one-out grounder by Maikol Gonzalez. The ball went right to Franco and he flipped to Calixte to complete the double play. After Bandy walked in the fourth inning he was thrown out attempting to steal second base on a strikeout of Cowart.