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Mike Moustakas was 3-for-4 on Thursday night with two homers.

Mike Moustakas was 3-for-4 on Thursday night with two homers. (John Owen)

Moustakas' Stars In Double-A Debut
Third baseman homers in first two at-bats
By Frank Novak / Northwest Arkansas Naturals
04/22/2010 11:39 PM ET

SPRINGDALE, AR- It didn't take very long for Mike Moustakas to show fans at Arvest Ballpark on Thursday evening one reason they should like him. In fact, in his first two at-bats he gave them two reasons.

He blasted home runs in his first two at-bats in his Double-A debut and reached base four consecutive times as the Naturals toppled their in-state rival Arkansas Travelers by an 11-0 final.

The 21-year old from Chatsworth, CA joined the Naturals Thursday and drove the third pitch he saw from Travs' starter Jeremy Thorne into the deepest part of the ballpark, giving the Naturals the 2-0 lead that was all they needed to beat the woebegone Travs, who looked far overmatched during most of the game.

Abel Nieves was the lone Travs hitter with two hits on the evening. His double with two outs in the top of the first preceded Paul McAnulty's single into right, but Nieves was waved in and was gunned down by a foot at home by Naturals' right fielder Nick Van Stratten. North Little Rock (4-9) only saw one more runner reach third the rest of the game, when Nieves took third on a flyout by Jay Brossman.

Moustakas gave the Naturals a 3-0 cushion with a two-out solo shot in the third as Thorne (1-1) struggled to find the strike zone. Thorne pitched the first five innings, allowing four hits and only the three runs, all courtesy of Moustakas, but ran up his pitch count by issuing seven walks.

The Travs' defense helped Thorne tremendously in the fourth, however, when third baseman Jay Brossman was able to turn a rare double play putout in a bases loaded, one out situation. He knocked down a soft grounder from Johnny Giovatella and nailed Nick Van Stratten at the plate, before Travs' backstop Alberto Rosario relayed it back to Brossman to catch Anthony Seratelli at third.

Northwest Arkansas (8-5) broke the game open in the sixth inning, scoring seven runs, six off which came off of Taylor Wilding, who allowed four hits and two walks while managing to retire only Seratelli, the first batter he faced. One of those runs was driven in by Moustakas, who doubled to run his RBI total on the evening to four. That put Northwest Arkansas up 5-0.

Then the Travs' elected to intentionally walk Clint Robinson to load the bases with just the one out, hoping to coax Manny Pina to ground into a double play. That did not end up happening, and instead Pina roped a 3-2 breaking ball into the Travs' bullpen to put the Naturals up 9-0. Nick Van Stratten's RBI double off of Ismael Carmona gave the Naturals a 10-0 cushion as ten men came up in the frame. Van Stratten doubled again in the eighth for the eleventh and final run.

Completely lost in the shuffle of the offensive theatrics of the evening was a dominating pitching performance by the southpaw Edgar Osuna (2-1). Osuna pitched seven effective innings, allowing five hits and one walk. He fanned six and still remains the only starter in the Texas League to have not allowed an earned run. Eduardo Paulino finished the shutout, the Naturals first on the season, with a scoreless eighth and ninth.

Friday's game will put Mario Santiago (0-2, 4.09) for the Naturals against Travs' lefty Michael Anton (1-1, 3.60). Santiago has made two starts this season and has pitched 11 innings total, yielding five earned runs while fanning eight. Anton went five innings in his last start, where he gave up three earned runs on four hits. Game time is 7:00 PM and great seats are available, but if you can't make it to Arvest Ballpark, you can listen live on KFAY 1030 AM or online at nwanaturals.com.

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. The Naturals have a toll-free ticket hotline (1-877-444-2637) for fans to purchase Naturals tickets. Our website, nwanaturals.com offers fans the opportunity to purchase tickets online and avoid lines at the ticket windows by printing their tickets at home or at the office.

 

 

 

 

 
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