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Naturals Drop Travelers Behind Testa’s Big Bat

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The Naturals continued their hot streak to the delight of fans at Arvest Ballpark.

SPRINGDALE, AR -Carlo Testa had a huge night at the plate as the Northwest Arkansas Naturals blasted the Arkansas Travelers 8-3 in the opening game of a four-game series Friday night at Arvest Ballpark.

Testa drove in six runs with a triple and a grand slam to extend the Naturals winning streak to five straight. Northwest Arkansas moved into second place in the Texas League North  game ahead of  the Travelers at 10-11 on the season.

The Naturals got to veteran Arkansas starter Greg Smith with a huge 4th inning. Christian Colon hit a lead off single. Wil Myers followed with a double and Johnny Whittleman walked to load the bases with no one out. Mario Lisson drove in his sixth run of the season to cut the lead to 3-1. After Smith got the next two outs Testa delivered his first big blow of the contest taking an 0-1 offering over the wall in left center for a grand slam to give the Naturals a 5-3 lead.

The visitors did all their scoring in the second. Casey Hearther led off that frame with a single off Naturals’ starter Tim Melville and Renny Osuna’s one out double put runners on second and third with one out. Alberto Rosario followed with a sacrifice fly to plate the game’s first run and Ryan Kiniry followed up with an RBI single to put the Travelers up by a 2-0 score. Kiniry swiped second base and then came in on an RBI single from Matt Long which put North Little Rock (9-12) up by a 3-0 margin.Tim Melville (1-1) got his his first career win with the Naturals. He allowed just four hits and three runs over five innings, striking out four. Elisaul Pimentel came on in relief going three innings without allowing a hit while striking out three.

John Whittleman triggered a big eighth inning for Northwest Arkansas with his ninth double of the season. Mario Lisson followed with a single. Yem Prades’ bunt brought a run in to make it 6-3. Testa followed with his second triple of the season to score two more runs for the final 8-3 total.

Game two of the series is set for 7 p.m. Saturday.