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Gray Wins Pitchers Duel For Drillers

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TULSA, Oklahoma -

Thursday's meeting at ONEOK Field between Tulsa and Arkansas featured one of the best pitching matchups of the season. Jon Gray, a 2013 first-round draft pick of the Colorado Rockies from the University of Oklahoma, was on the mound for the Drillers. Pitching for the Travelers was Michael Roth. Roth was back with the Travelers after winning a game in the majors on Saturday while pitching in relief for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

The matchup more than lived up to the expectations. The game featured only ten total hits, but it was Gray who got the victory as Tulsa hung on for a 3-2 win.

The Drillers' right-hander allowed only two hits and a pair of walks while striking out five in his six innings. The only run he allowed was unearned. The win was the eighth of the year for Gray, tying him for the most in the Texas League this season.

Roth suffered the loss, but was also effective. The lefthander worked 6-plus innings, surrendering three runs (2 ER) on six hits.

Tulsa staked Gray to an early lead with runs in each of the first two innings. In the bottom of the first, Delta Cleary Jr. had a leadoff single, and Tyler Massey drew a walk. Following a sacrifice bunt, Ryan Casteel drew another walk to load the bases. Taylor Featherston produced a sacrifice fly that scored Cleary Jr. to give the Drillers a 1-0 lead.

Brian Humphries doubled the margin in the second inning. Humphries led off with his fourth home run of the season on a hard-hit line drive to the right field berm to make it 2-0.

Gray blanked the Travelers through the first four innings before his own error helped them get on the board in the top of the fifth. Michael Snyder doubled with one out before Kaleb Cowert hit a bouncer back to the mound. Gray fielded the ball and had Snyder caught off of second base, but his throw to the bag was low. Cowert reached safely and Snyder advanced to third on the play. On the next pitch, Eric Stamets delivered a sacrifice fly that trimmed the Tulsa lead to 2-1.

A pair of miscues from Arkansas helped the Drillers get the run back in the sixth inning. Massey led off with a base hit, and Adames laid down his second sacrifice bunt of the game to move him into scoring position. Massey moved to third when shortstop Stamets misplayed a grounder off the bat of Casteel, and then scored when third baseman Cowert let a possible double play grounder from Featherston deflect off his glove for a second straight error.

Tulsa maintained its 3-1 lead until a scary ninth inning. After R.J. Seidel worked two scoreless innings in relief of Gray, closer Cole White came on for the final frame. White walked the leadoff hitter before hitting the next batter with a pitch. Mike Bianucci followed with a base hit that scored a run to trim the Drillers lead to a single run.

With runners at first and second, White caught a break when Jett Bandy fouled out to catcher Casteel while attempting to lay down a sacrifice bunt. Michael Snyder followed with a grounder directly to Featherston at second base that turned into a game-ending, 4-6-3 double play.

For White, it was his sixth save of the season and his second in as many games.

The victory was the second straight for the Drillers, with both wins coming while they were wearing purple jerseys. They are now 8-3 in the purple tops this season.

Game three of the four-game series between the two teams is scheduled for Friday night at ONEOK Field. Ryan Kulik (0-2, 9.00 ERA) will take the mound for the Drillers against Kramer Sneed (5-6, 4.57 ERA) of the Travelers. Starting time is scheduled for 7:05 p.m.  

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