With two outs in the bottom of the ninth, the NW Arkansas Naturals walked off over Arkansas, 4-3 to take Game 1 in the best-of-five Texas League North Division Series.
Bubba Starling led off the bottom of the ninth with a broken bat pop up that was not fielded by new Travelers pitcher Chris O’Grady. Starling was still standing on first base with two outs. Up came Parker Morin, who delivered the game winner down the left field line, as Starling scored from first base.
Morin was 3-for-4 with two RBIs.
The walk off wouldn’t have been possible if not for the struggling Raul Mondesi in the bottom of the eighth. Heading into the postseason, Mondesi was just 1-for-24 with 15 strikeouts in the month of September.
Ramon Torres singled to lead off the bottom of the eighth and Mondesi followed by slugging a two-run home run to tie the game at 3-3.
Jonathan Dziedzic got the start and allowed two runs on five hits and three walks over 5.2 innings. He struck out eight. Dziedzic left with a runner on base in the sixth in favor of Malcom Culver, who allowed the run and one of his own (1.1IP, 2H, R, BB, K).
Daniel Stumpf struck out the side in the eighth on just 11 pitches.
Mark Peterson earned the victory, as he worked around a two out single and a walk to throw a scoreless ninth.
The Naturals host Game 2 on Thursday night.