After a rough start to the 2013 season the Northwest Arkansas Naturals are starting out the Texas League conference season on a high note.
Northwest Arkansas has won 10 of its last 14 games and sits in first place in the north standings at 7-4.The Naturals started just 25-45 in the first half of the season but have used a hot streak after last week’s All-Star break to emerge as a serious contender.
Two Naturals players received both of the Texas League’s Weekly Honors. Pitcher Brooks Pounders earned Pitcher of the Week honors and second baseman Whit Merrifield got the nod for Player of the Week.
On Thursday night Pounders tossed the first individual complete-game no-hitter in Naturals history. He did not allow a walk over nine innings and struck out six Midland Rockhounds.
With four multi-hit games this week, Whit Merrifield raised his batting average this season by over sixty points. In four games after the All-Star Break, he went 11-for-16 with 9 RBI.
Merrifield was activated off the disabled list on June 10 and is 19-for-50 with a homerun and 13 RBI ever since. In 39 games this season, Merrifield is batting .258 with 9 Doubles, 2 Homeruns and 19 RBI.
The dual honors for both pitcher and player of the week mark the first time since early 2011 that two Naturals have swept the weekly awards.