After a pair of shutouts, the Arkansas Travelers fell to the Northwest Arkansas Naturals 3-2 in walk-off fashion Monday in their last game before the All-Star break.
The Travs, 3-3 in the second half, had a streak of 20 scoreless innings pitched against the Naturals. Arkansas finished the first half of the season 27-42.
The tough loss sent the Travelers into a three-day break based around the 2012 Texas League All-Star Game scheduled to be played tonight at ONEOK Field in Tulsa. Four Travelers — Roberto Lopez, Ariel Pena, A.J. Schugel and Jean Segura — will represent the team as members of the North Division squad.
The Travelers will be back in action Friday as they open a six-game homestand, starting with a three-game set against the Midland Rockhounds. First pitch Friday is set for 7:10 p.m. at Dickey-Stephens Park. Frisco is here for three games, starting Monday.
Pena and Schugel rank among the top five of the Texas League in earned run average. Schugel leads the rotation and is fourth in the league with a 2.96 ERA. He also ranks fourth in the TL in opponent’s batting average as hitters are hitting a meager .219 against him.
A good fastball and slider have made Pena one of the top strikeout pitchers in the league. Pena’s 74 strikeouts in 77.2 innings is fourth-highest strikeout-per-nine-innings ratio among starting pitchers. His 3.01 ERA ranks him fifth in the Texas League.
Segura, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim’s No. 2 prospect, according to Baseball America, has played in all but one game for the Travelers this season. A fixture in the middle of the lineup, Lopez receives the All-Star nod as a reserve outfielder. Lopez is the team leader in two offensive categories so far this season. He leads the club in doubles with 18 and runs batted in with 32. His 18 doubles also put him tied for third in the Texas League.