Call them the comeback kids.
The Arkansas Travelers are riding a four-game winning streak as of Monday and have kept the streak going in dramatic fashion. After losing at Tulsa last Wednesday, 6-5 in 11 innings, three of the Travs’ four wins have been come-from-behind with two happening in the ninth frames.
“We have been playing some exciting baseball,” Travelers Manager Tim Bogar said. “I am very happy with our energy and ability of coming back and not giving up after getting down early. I also give our starters lots of credit for not giving up.”
In the loss, the Travelers uncharacteristically had four errors. In the eighth inning, Randal Grichuk smashed a two-run home run to knot the contest at 5-all. Tulsa scored the winning run in the 11th on two wild pitches.
“We are finding ways to make mistakes we’ve never made before,” Bogar said. “We made some silly mistakes we are capable of not making. The big thing is we learn from them and don’t repeat them.”
Last Thursday against Tulsa, the Travs scored all seven runs in the sixth frame to erase a 3-0 deficit for a 7-3 triumph. Taylor Lindsey’s three-run home propelled the inning which so far is the most runs Arkansas has scored in a stanza. Matt Long added two doubles and finished with three doubles and a single. Brandon Hynick (2-2) notched the pitching victory.
After a rare day off Friday in the middle of the series, Arkansas trailed 6-2 Saturday going into the sixth before grabbing an 8-6 win. Tied at six going into the top of the ninth, Grichuk’s two-RBI home run sealed the victory. It was his second home run on the night after leading off the second with a solo shot. Drew Heid’s two-out double in the eighth inning scored two runs and tied the contest at six. Nick Maronde notched his first victory, and Kevin Johnson picked up his seventh save.
In the final game of the series against Tulsa on Sunday, Arkansas never trailed in its 4-0 victory and got seven scoreless innings from right-hander Manny Correa. For the third time in two games, Grichuk homered again and racked up four home runs total against the Drillers.
“We been talking about since the beginning of the season making adjustments with our at bats,” Bogar said. “Seeing the teams for the second time we know what the pitchers are trying to do. We are starting to play better and are having great at bats and pitching and fielding as well.”
The Travs’ win streak continued Monday with a 4-3 home victory over the Northwest Arkansas Naturals when Travis Witherspoon’s two-out, two-run homer captured the victory.
In their last five contests (up to Monday’s 4-3 victory), the Travs have notched 10 or more hits including 12 against Tulsa last Sunday.
Relief pitcher Michael Roth was sent back up to the Angels for a second time while Matt Long went to AAA at Salt Lake City and joined the team Sunday. Relief pitcher Ryan Chaffee came off the disabled list, and infielder Trevor Hairgrove joined the Travs from Inland Empire.