SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — The Springfield Cardinals opened the scoring, but couldn’t close it.
The Northwest Arkansas Naturals beat the Cardinals 2-1 on Tuesday night at Hammons field in the series opener.
Luken Baker hit an RBI single to center field scoring Nolan Gorman to give the Cardinals a 1-0 lead.
Gorman went 3-4 with a double in the game.
The Naturals responded in the third as Clay Dungan hit a single out to right, which scored Travis Jones from first base to tie the game up at 1-1.
It was the only run allowed off Cardinals starting pitcher Connor Thomas, who finished with a six IP, six hit, eight strikeout stat line.
Springfield had a chance to get more runs in the sixth, but the Naturals forced Nick Plummer into a 3-6-3 double play with the bases loaded to end the threat.
The Naturals added a second run in the seventh when Dairon Blanco hit a ball over the head of David Vinsky in center field to score MJ Melendez.
Kansas City Royals top prospect Bobby Witt Jr. finished the night with one hit in four at-bats.
The two will play game two of the six game series on Wednesday night.