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By Frank Novak / Northwest Arkansas Naturals
03/23/2010 9:50 PM ET


PEORIA, AZ - The Naturals rapped out 11 hits and Blake Johnson turned in a solid outing as Northwest Arkansas romped the San Antonio Missions 8-3 in Monday's exhibition action.

Tim Smith drove in the game's first run with an RBI triple which scored Derrick Robinson for the early 1-0 lead. The Naturals would break the game open in the second, as the first five batters would reach safely.

Manny Pina led off the frame and reached on an error by Missions' third baseman James Darnell. After Paulo Orlando singled, Eddie Prasch drove in Pina with a base hit. Chris McConnell walked to load the bases, and then Ryan Eigsti's ensuing double drove in both Orlando and Prasch. McConnell would come home on an RBI groundout by Derrick Robinson which gave the Naturals a 5-0 lead.

That was more than enough cushion for Naturals' starter Blake Johnson, who tossed five innings, allowing three hits and two runs. The right-hander fanned six and didn't allow a walk. Both of Johnson's runs allowed came in the third on a two-run double from the Missions' Dan Robertson.

The Naturals added an insurance run in the seventh to pad their lead to 6-2, then added two more in the ninth. The bullpen held up their end, as left-hander Nelson Payano tossed two perfect innings and right-hander Chris Chavez allowed the Missions one run in the bottom of the eighth.

Derrick Robinson, Tim Smith, Paulo Orlando, and Ryan Eigsti all had two hits apiece for the Naturals, who played error-free defensively.





Northwest Arkansas has now evened its Cactus League record at 3-3. The Naturals will now face the Frisco RoughRiders Tuesday on the Royals' side of the Surprise complex. Game time is set for 1 P.M. MST (3 P.M. CDT).

The Northwest Arkansas Naturals are the Double-A Texas League affiliate of the Kansas City Royals and play at state of the art Arvest Ballpark, located in Springdale. You can purchase season tickets and group outings with the Naturals by calling (479) 927-4900.
 
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