Kevin Kouzmanoff hit a grand slam in the third inning Thursday night to lift the NW Arkansas Naturals to a 6-3 victory over the Tulsa Drillers.
Michael Mariot (W, 5-3) pitched seven strong innings for NW Arkansas, allowing just two earned runs. Jhoulys Chacin (L, 0-1) only lasted four innings, allowing the grand slam to Kouzmanoff.
Trailing 4-2 in the eighth, Jimmy Cesario homered to center to cut the lead to 4-3, giving Tulsa some life. But in the top of the ninth, an error and a wild pitch allowed two Naturals runs to score, making it a three-run lead and crushing Tulsa's will.
The Drillers will now hit the road for a four-game series in Springfield. Game one is Friday night at 7:08 p.m.