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Travs Notebook | A strong start to second half

Pausing for last week’s all-star game last Tuesday at Dickey-Stephens Park, the Arkansas Travelers embarked on a six-game road trip which turned out to be very successful.

After a 6-1 loss at Frisco last Wednesday, Arkansas won its next five games in a row, two against Frisco and three at Midland. Sweeping the Rockhounds on Saturday, Sunday and Monday was the first time the Travs took a three-game series.

The Travs and San Antonio share the best records in the second half with 8-4 marks. Both teams are leading their halves of the Texas League with the Travs owning a two-game lead over Northwest Arkansas and Tulsa and three-game edge over Springfield in the North. San Antonio is 2.5 games ahead of Frisco and Midland in the South.

After the 6-1 loss at Frisco, the Travelers’ next five contests were comprised of three close games and two blowouts. The five-game winning streak is Arkansas’ longest after two-four game winning spans.

In last Thursday’s 9-4 triumph over Frisco, leftfielder Michael Bianucci smacked four hits including a home run good for three RBI and scored four runs. He was a triple short of the cycle, and the Travs totaled 18 hits in the game.

In a 3-2 victory against Frisco last Friday, Arkansas scored two runs in the second and one in the third but had to hold off the Roughriders as they tallied one run in the bottom of the ninth. Drew Rucinski picked up the victory in seven innings and Bianucci tallied three hits while Brian Hernandez was 2-fo-4.

The Travelers started a three-game series at Midland last Saturday with a 10-4 pounding. With the contest tied at four after three innings, Arkansas sandwiched four runs in the eighth between one each in the seventh and ninth. The eighth stanza was highlighted by catcher Jett Bandy’s two-run homer. Alex Yarbrough smacked four hits, and Kaleb Cowart and Bianucci each contributed three.

In Sunday’s 3-1 win, Maikol Gonzalez’s two-run single in the seventh broke a 1-1 deadlock and led the Travs to a victory. Adam Melker and Eric Stamets started off the inning with singles and both scored on Gonzalez’s smash.

Arkansas sealed the series against Midland with a 4-3 win this past Monday. Owning a 4-0 lead after five stanzas, the Travs had to hold off the RockHounds. Midland posted three runs in the seventh to make the contest tight. Nate Smith (4-1) made his first start in 10 days and threw six shutout innings. Although he walked five batters and relinquished five hits, Smith did not allow a Midland runner to reach third based. Catcher De La Rosa helped his teammate by throwing two runners out while stealing and picked another at second base.

The Travs put their five-game winning streak on the line at Dickey-Stephens today through Monday. This time they host Frisco today through Friday and then face Midland from Saturday through Monday.

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