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Cards clinch playoff berth on dramatic 11th inning single

Springfield, MO- The Springfield Cardinalsdefeated the Arkansas Travelers 4-3 in eleven innings, completing the sweep of the series. The victory clinches a playoff berth for the Cards, the Texas League second half North Division Champions.

The Cards cracked the scoreboard first, when Chris Swauger led off the bottom of the second inning with a solo home run to center. Adam Melker would reach base with one out on a fielding error by Arkansas shortstop Darwin Perez. Back-to-back singles from Audry Perez and Mike O'Neil would make it 2-0 Cardinals. O'Neil would finish the game 4-for-5 and the series 10-for-13

Arkansas would briefly cut the lead with a solo home run from Paul McAnulty in the fourth inning.

Springfield would add to their lead in the bottom of the fourth. Xavier Scruggs snapped and 0-for-24 hitless streak with a leadoff double to center. A swinging bunt single from Adam Melker followed by a double play would bring Scruggs home.

The Travelers would tie the game up in the sixth with a Paul McAnulty single followed by a Roberto Lopez home run to right.

The Cardinals would bring runners to the corners with back-to-back singles from Mike O'Neil and Kolten Wong in the bottom of the eleventh. An intentional walk to Greg Garcia would load the bases for Jermaine Curtis. Curtis would respond with a looping, walk-off single down the right field line to win the game.

Arkansas starter Orangel Arenas pitched six innings of nine-hit ball, giving up three runs, two of them earned, and striking out six. Nick Maronde and Caleb Graham would combine to pitch a hitless seventh. Graham would pitch two perfect innings, striking out five Cardinal batters.

Cardinals starter Seth Maness lasted seven innings, giving up four hits and three runs, while striking out three. All three of his runs came off of the home runs to McAnulty and Lopez. Cards reliever Eric Fornataro would pitch a scoreless eighth and ninth, giving up one hit and walking one.

Springfield reliever Keith Butler (5-1) would get the win, pitching the tenth and eleventh innings without giving up a hit. He walked one and struck out three Travs.

Travs reliever Buddy Boshers would pitch one inning, giving two hits, walking one and striking out one. Closer Kevin Johnson (1-4) would earn the loss with three hits and two walks issued over two-thirds innings of work.

This marks the first playoff appearance for the Cards since 2010.

The Cardinals will begin their final home series of the regular season with the Tulsa Drillers in town tomorrow night at 7:08pm. Scott McGregor will start for Springfield against Dan Houston for the Drillers.

 

Courtesy of: Springfield Cardinals

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