Springfield's Seth Maness has been outstanding on the mound this season in just his second year since being drafted out of East Carolina University. Heading into Sunday night's start, he's compiled an impressive 8-2 record with a 3.07 ERA in 14 starts for the Cardinals. The right-hander had another stellar performance on Sunday at Hammons Field against Tulsa. He went seven innings, gave up four hits and one unearned run while striking out nine en route to his ninth win of the season, helping the Cardinals defeat the Drillers 4-1.
Maness breezed through the first three innings allowing only one hit, but the Drillers got into the scoring column in the fourth. Nolan Arenado led off the inning with his 27th double of the season and advanced to third base on a ground out by Ben Paulsen. After Mike Zuanich reached on an error by Cardinals first baseman Xavier Scruggs, Lars Davis struck out, which brought up Mike Mitchell with runners on the corners and two outs. Mitchell sent Maness' 1-1 offering into left field for a single, scoring Arenado and giving Tulsa a 1-0 lead.
Tulsa starter Brandon Hynick was in a groove through the first four innings, surrendering just two hits and no runs, but got into trouble in the fifth. With two outs and the bases empty Maness reached on an infield single. Hynick walked the following batter, Greg Garcia, on four pitches and Jermaine Curtis lined a single to center field plating Garcia from second. Mitchell made a strong throw from center, but Garcia was able to slide in under the tag, tying the game 1-1.
Xavier Scruggs lead off the sixth inning by blasting a solo home run over the fence in right-center field. It was Scruggs' 18th home run of the season and gave the Cardinals a 2-1 lead.
Springfield added to their lead in the eighth. Josh Sullivan came on in relief of Hynick and was greeted by back-to-back doubles by Oscar Taveras and Scruggs. Taveras came around to score on Scruggs' double making it 3-1 Cardinals. Scruggs advanced to third base on a ground out by Audry Perez and was driven in when the next batter, Adam Melker, reached on an error by left fielder Corey Dickerson, pushing Springfield's lead to 4-1.
The three-run advantage was plenty as Michael Blazek and Eric Fornataro each pitched a scoreless inning to close out the game for the Cardinals. Fornataro picked up his fifth save of the season.
Hynick suffered his second loss of the season with the Drillers, but had a quality outing - going seven innings and giving up two runs on seven hits while striking out five.
Arenado continued to hit well, collecting three hits on the night, including two doubles. He raised his average to .270 and is seven for 14 in the series.
The final game of the four-game series will take place on Monday night at Hammons Field. Major Leaguer Jhoulys Chacin (0-3, 7.50 ERA with Colorado) will make a rehab start for Tulsa against Scott McGregor (5-1, 4.42 ERA) for Springfield. First pitch is scheduled for 7:08 PM.