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Drillers Manage Just Two Hits In Loss

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SPRINGDALE, Arkansas -

The Tulsa Drillers were limited to only two hits Sunday evening and dropped the opening game of a four-game series in Northwest Arkansas. The Naturals protected a slim, one-run lead before scoring three times in the seventh inning to post a 5-1 victory at Arvest Ballpark.

Tulsa starting pitcher Richard Castillo had one of his best outings of the year but was charged with his ninth loss. Castillo allowed only five hits and two runs in six innings of work.

The Drillers lone run came in the top of the seventh and came without the benefit of a hit. Leadoff batter Taylor Featherston was hit by a pitch and advanced into scoring position by stealing second base. He moved to third on a fly out before scoring on a wild pitch to pull Tulsa to within 2-1.

The Naturals had built their lead with single runs in the second and fifth innings off Castillo. In the second, Max Ramirez singled and came home with the game's first run on a double by Parker Morin.

Morin drew a leadoff walk in the fifth before eventually scoring on a ground out by second baseman Angel Franco.

After the Drillers pulled to within one run, the Naturals put the game away with their three-run seventh against reliever Nelson Gonzalez. Gonzalez walked Morin and Edinson Rincon to open the inning before Tulsa first baseman Tyler Massey threw wildly on a sacrifice bunt attempt by Ethan Chapman, allowing Morin to score.

A sacrifice fly from Franco and a run-scoring triple from Jorge Bonifacio accounted for the final two runs.

The Drillers did not get their first hit until Featherston tripled with two outs in the fourth.

Their only other hit nearly produced a run. With two outs in the sixth and Jose Gonzalez at second, Cristhian Adames dropped a base hit into right field, but Gonzalez was thrown out by Bonifacio trying to score on the play.

Northwest Arkansas pitcher Matt Murray made his first start of the season and did not allow a hit or issue a walk in his three innings of work.

Reliever Ali Williams pitched three scoreless innings to collect the win.

Before the game, the Drillers announced several roster moves. David Kandilas and David Bergin were both returned to Modesto. Catchers Chris O'Dowd and Will Swanner were assigned to Tulsa from the Nuts. O'Dowd is the son of Rockies Executive Vice President/General Manager Dan O'Dowd.

Manager Kevin Riggs also announced that Ryan Casteel had been placed on the Disabled List with a fractured bone in his face. Casteel was struck by a ball while sliding into second base in Friday night's game at ONEOK Field. Infielder Jose Rivera was activated from the DL to replace Casteel.

Tulsa and Northwest Arkansas will play the second game of their series Monday night at Springdale's Arvest Park. Carlos Hernandez (2-4, 2.84 ERA) will take the mound for the Drillers against Andy Ferguson (6-7, 3.45 ERA) of the Naturals. Starting time is scheduled for 7:05 p.m.


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