Late Thursday: Drillers Snap Six-Game Losing Streak in 15-Inning Marathon
TULSA, Oklahoma - After four-plus hours of play, Angelys Nina ended the contest in the 15th inning by legging out an infield single that plated Rafael Ortega with the winning run as the Drillers defeated Springfield 2-1 in the second longest game in ONEOK Field history.
The victory was the fifth walk-off win of the season for the Drillers and snapped their six-game losing streak.
The winning rally began with a leadoff single by Ortega. Following a sacrifice bunt, the Cardinals intentionally walked Kiel Roling. Kyle Parker then lined a single into left field that loaded the bases. Kent Matthes struck out, but Nina hit a chopper between the pitcher's mound and first base. First baseman Xavier Scruggs fielded the bouncer but his throw to pitcher Nick Greenwood at first was late, allowing Ortega to cross the plate with the winning run.
The contest lasted 4 hours and 16 minutes, and the 15 innings were second only to the 16-inning contest that Tulsa and Arkansas played at ONEOK Field on May 6, 2010.
Sean Gallagher, who pitched in the majors with the Cubs, A's, Padres and Pirates, was outstanding in his Tulsa debut. He surrendered only two hits in his seven-inning shutout performance, while walking five batters and striking out two.
He needed only 84 pitches to get through his seven innings. His only trouble came in the top of the sixth when he issued three straight walks to load the bases with one out. Gallagher escaped the jam by getting an inning-ending double play grounder off the bat of the dangerous Ruben Gotay.
Appropriately, Frazier followed Gallagher to the mound. The Tulsa native struck out the first two hitters he faced, then after an infield single, got a grounder to end a quick, scoreless inning.
The Drillers only run of the game came with two out in the bottom of the second inning. Catcher Jose Gonzalez belted his second home run of the season to put Tulsa in front 1-0.
For most of the night, it appeared the hit would be a game-winner, but the Cards finally got on the board in the top of the ninth to send the game into extra innings. Tulsa closer Mike Marbry issued a leadoff walk to James Ramsey to open the ninth, and Ruben Gotay followed with a base hit. After Scruggs popped out, Jake Lemmerman lined a double into the left field corner that scored Ramsey to even the score at 1-1.
Josh Mueller, who was Tulsa's seventh pitcher of the night, worked a scoreless 15th inning to pick up his first Double A win.
Springfield's six hurlers combined for 20 strikeouts.
The Drillers will conclude their longest homestand of the season Friday night with a single game against Northwest Arkansas. The one game with the Naturals was the result of a switch of home dates between the two teams. The pitching matchup will have Tim Gustafson going for Tulsa against Noel Arguelles of Northwest Arkansas.
Starting time is scheduled for 7:05PM with Friday Night Fireworks planned for after the game.