After the Springfield Cardinals had taken a one-run lead in the top of the ninth, the Northwest Arkansas Naturals responded with a walk-off, two-run triple from C Parker Morin in the bottom of the ninth for the 6-5 comeback win before 5,005 fans at Arvest Ballpark.
The Naturals (13-22, 53-52) opened the early advantage in the bottom of the first against LHP Jimmy Reed. After consecutive singles started the frame, Reed battled back with a strikeout against LF Lane Adams. However, RF Jorge Bonifacio placed an RBI single to score 2B Ramon Torres for the 1-0 Naturals lead.
The Cardinals (19-17, 49-57) came right back in the top of the second against RHP Christian Binford. C Michael Ohlman started the stanza with a single, before racing to second on a passed ball charged to C Parker Morin. Ohlman then darted home on a game-tying RBI double from 3B Patrick Wisdom, evening it at 1-1.
Springfield struck for two more runs in the top of the fourth against Binford, seizing their first lead of the night. Wisdom started the inning with his second double of the night, before Binford battled back with consecutive outs. 2B Breyvic Valera, though, ripped an RBI double to right-center field, bringing in Wisdom for the go-ahead run. Valera then moved to third on a single from DH Charlie Tilson, before darting home on an errant pickoff attempt by Binford, making it a 3-1 Cardinals lead.
Northwest Arkansas chipped the deficit in half with an RBI double in the bottom of the fourth, followed by a powerful fifth to take the lead. Morin started the fifth with a solo shot, tying the game at 3-3. Two outs later, Adams struck with a solo blast of his own, lifting the Naturals back in front, 4-3.
The Cardinals, though, once again had a quick retort, squaring the score in the top of the sixth. Ohlman led off with a single, before back-to-back base hits by RF David Washington and SS Aledmys Diaz one out later loaded the bases. Valera then chopped into an RBI fielder’s choice, enabling Ohlman to score from third to make it 4-4.
Cardinals RHP Corey Baker kept the tie intact with three scoreless relief innings from the sixth through the eighth, before the Cardinals retook the lead in the top of the ninth. Tilson sparked the charge with a walk, before stealing second for his league-best 35th swipe of the year. CF Mike O’Neill then legged out an infield single that moved Tilson to third base, putting runners at the corners for LF Anthony Garcia. Garcia came through with a screaming RBI single through the middle, lifting the Cardinals ahead, 5-4.
The Naturals, though, had one last rally in the bottom of the ninth. Facing RHP Chris Perry (L, 0-1), CF Bubba Starling led off with a walk. After a strikeout, 1B Frank Schwindel pulled a single through the left side, putting runners at the corners. Schwindel was replaced by pinch-running OF Kenny Diekroeger at first base, as Morin stepped in. Morin promptly drove a two-run triple to straightaway center field, plating both Starling and Diekroeger and lifting the Naturals to the 6-5 walk-off win.