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Drillers Fall Short Against Naturals

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Collin McHugh made a successful debut for Tulsa Saturday night, but it still was not enough to produce a victory.

McHugh worked six solid innings, but he was upstaged by Northwest Arkansas' Jason Adam. Adam, who entered the game with a 6.23 ERA, allowed only three hits and one run in 6.1 innings to lead the Naturals to a 3-1 victory at ONEOK Field.

McHugh, who appeared in three games with the New York Mets this season, including a start against Miami just three weeks ago, was making his debut in the Colorado Rockies' system. The right-hander was acquired in the trade that sent former Drillers outfielder Eric Young Jr. to the Mets earlier this week.

The 26-year-old surrendered only five hits and two runs in his six-inning debut. He worked efficiently, throwing 68 strikes out of 88 pitches. McHugh did not walk a hitter while striking out five.

For Adam, it was his third victory in his last four outings, improving his overall record to 3-8.

Tulsa nemesis Brett Eibner gave Adam and the Naturals a 1-0 lead when he led off the top of the fourth with his 8th home run of the season. Five of his eight homers have now come against the Drillers.

The lead doubled with a two-out rally in the fifth. Leftfielder Ramon Hernandez doubled and scored when Whit Merrifield dropped a hit into shallow centerfield.

The Drillers got on the scoreboard in the seventh, but missed a chance to do more damage. Kiel Roling led off with a double into the left field corner. After a one-out wild pitch, Kyle Parker was hit by a pitch to put runners at the corners. Santiago Garrido relieved Adam and got a slow chopper up the third base line from Angelys Nina. Cheslor Cuthbert fielded the grounder and threw wildly past home, allowing Roling to score and Parker and Nina to advance to second and third.

Joey Wong made a bid to put Tulsa in front with a sharp liner that Cuthbert leaped and snared above his head, keeping the Naturals one-run lead intact. Garrido ended the threat by retiring Jayson Langfels on a grounder back to the mound.

The Drillers would get no closer as the Naturals added an insurance run in the top of the ninth off Juan Gonzalez. Brian Fletcher led off with a base hit, moved to second on a wild pitch and scored on a base hit by Cuthbert.

The two teams will conclude their four-game set Sunday afternoon in what will be the final game before the two-day break for the Texas League All-Star Game. All-Star Christian Bergman (3-6, 3.20 ERA) will pitch the finale for the Drillers, while the Naturals will send Sugar Ray Marimon (4-8, 4.79 ERA) to the mound. Starting time is scheduled for 2:05 p.m. in what will be the final regular season day game at OENOK Field this year.

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