Springfield, MO (MILB.com) - Andy Ferguson went the distance for the Northwest Arkansas Naturals to edge the Springfield Cardinals, 2-0, before the sellout crowd of 7,038 fans at Hammons Field on Saturday evening.
Cardinals RHP Mike Mayers (L, 1-4) and Ferguson (W, 7-8) dueled through the first four innings, alternating scoreless frame after scoreless frame before Northwest Arkansas (14-15, 39-60) broke through in the fifth.
After Mayers started his fifth inning with a groundout, CF Ethan Chapman got himself aboard with a bunt single. Chapman then raced all the way home from first on an RBI triple by DH Angel Franco for the game's first run. SS Orlando Calixte returned the favor, plating Franco from third on an RBI sacrifice fly, doubling the new advantage to 2-0.
Mayers battled back with a scoreless sixth inning to close his quality start with only the two runs allowed, before the Cardinals (10-19, 44-55) received three scoreless relief innings from the bullpen to stay within striking distance. LHP Ryan Sherriff took care of the seventh, before RHP Seth Blair, who just returned from AAA-Memphis today, dealt the scoreless eighth and ninth with three strikeouts.
However, Ferguson continued to roll on the mound. The Naturals starter ended up tossing a rare nine-inning, complete-game shutout on 101 pitches. By finishing what he started, Ferguson ensured that the narrow lead held up and the Naturals prevailed, 2-0.