FRISCO, TEXAS – After a rainout delayed the start of the season by one day, Frisco and Northwest Arkansas split a doubleheader on Friday at Dr Pepper Ballpark. The Naturals used a late rally to win game one 3-1 while the RoughRiders took advantage of a defensive miscue to capture the nightcap by a 4-2 final score.
Pitching and defense dominated the opener through the first six innings of play. Both clubs combined to register only five hits through the first six scoreless frames and timely base hits were available at a premium. Frisco right-hander Luke Jackson pitched five innings of shutout baseball and gave up only two hits. His final line also included one walk and three strikeouts. Opposing him was right-hander Andy Ferguson, who held Frisco to one base hit in his 3.2 scoreless innings of work, walking two batters with one strikeout.
Both offenses awoke in the seventh inning. Northwest Arkansas’ Angel Franco
doubled to left field against Jon Edwards to begin the top of the frame and advanced to third on an infield single laid down by Parker Morin. Justin Trapp broke the scoreless tie on the first pitch of his at bat with a sharp single, making it 1-0 Naturals. Trapp later scored on a throwing error by RoughRiders shortstop Luis Sardinas to extend the lead to 2-0. Northwest Arkansas would tack on one more run when a wild pitch got away from Patrick Cantwell, scoring Whit Merrifield.
Frisco made noise in the bottom half of the frame when Jake Skole reached first on an infield single. Skole advanced to second on a groundout by Cantwell, and scored on an error by third baseman Cheslor Cuthbert to cut the deficit to two runs. Frisco wasn’t able to complete the late-game rally, however, and the Naturals took the contest 3-1.
The win went to Andrew Triggs (1-0), who tossed 2.1 scoreless innings of relief while Edwards (0-1) was tagged with the loss. Scott Alexander earned his first save.
Game two featured RoughRiders lefty Edwar Cabrera, who was making his Rangers organization debut against right-hander Tim Melville.
The scoring started in the top of the second when Mark Threlkeld hit a two-out double to centerfield and scored on a Juan Graterol RBI single. In the top of the fourth, Cuthbert scored on a fielder’s choice off the bat of Threlkeld to make it 2-0 Naturals.
The RoughRiders’ bats got going in the bottom of the fifth inning. Chris Grayson led things off with a double to left field and Guilder Rodriguez followed with a walk. Both runners advanced bases on a botched pickoff attempt, which struck Grayson in the helmet. Sardinas hit a hard ground ball off the glove of pitcher Noel Arguellas to score Grayson, and Jordan Brown hit a sacrifice fly to center to tie the game at 2-2. With two outs in the inning, Drew Robinson hit a pop up to shallow right field that was dropped by Jorge Bonifacio, scoring Sardinas and Rougned Odor to make it 4-2 RoughRiders. The inning’s two errors made two of Frisco’s four runs unearned and gave Frisco the lead for good.
In the seventh and final inning of regulation, Wilmer Font made his first appearance of the spring and retired three of the four batters he faced to end the game and earn the save.
Matt West (1-0) earned the victory and Arguelles (0-1) took the loss.