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Travs back to their winning ways

After losing eight games in a row, the Arkansas Travelers finally got back to winning last Friday and since have captured three straight contests.

The Travelers entered a four-game series at Tulsa last Wednesday on a six-game losing skid. Two consecutive losses to the Drillers saw the Travs riding an eight-game losing streak. However, they finally snapped that stretch with a 7-3 triumph last Friday.

The catalyst has been outfielder Mike Bianucci. In his last 10 games, he is hitting .366 but over the last five games which include the three victories, Bianucci is averaging .450. He is riding a 10-game hitting streak and hit one home run in the 7-3 victory and added two solo home runs in Arkansas’ 3-1 triumph last Saturday. In a 6-4 win over Springfield last Sunday, Bianucci recorded two hits which included a double.

With the triumph last Saturday, the Travelers moved to within one game of league-leader Northwest Arkansas. As of Tuesday, they were a half game behind the Naturals as Northwest Arkansas played Monday night while the Travs were rained out. Tuesday’s contest was a doubleheader with the Springfield Cardinals.

In last Friday’s win, Arkansas led from the first inning and snapped a streak of trailing for 32 consecutive innings. Four runs in the first stanza propelled the Travs to a victory. Bianucci’s solo home run in the third gave the Travelers a 5-0 cushion. After Tulsa pulled to within, 5-3, Alex Yarbrough smacked a home run for a 6-3 edge after four innings.

In the 3-1 triumph last Saturday, Bianucci’s two single-run blasts were the keys. Nate Smith notched his 11th victory in six innings of work, and Cam Bedrosian pitched a perfect ninth frame to grab his 11th save in 12 attempts.

In last Sunday’s 6-4 win, Bianucci and Bryan Hernandez each totaled two base hits. Drew Heid’s two-run single in the fifth frame gave the Travs a 6-3 lead and kept the Cardinals playing catchup.

After Tuesday’s doubleheader, Arkansas finishes the series with Springfield on Wednesday then travels back to Tulsa for four games Thursday through Sunday. They move on to Northwest Arkansas next Monday for a three-game stretch that lasts through Wednesday before heading home.

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