Drillers Win Third Straight
SPRINGDALE, Arkansas - The Tulsa Drillers won their third straight at Arvest Ballpark in the series finale with the Naturals by a final score of 10-6.
The win evened the Drillers record at 3-3 in the young second half of the season.
The Drillers were up 6-3 at one point, but eventually needed a big offensive ninth inning to pull away from the Naturals, who tied the game in the seventh.
Northwest Arkansas scored first with two runs in the bottom of the second inning. Hunter Dozier's single was followed by a Mark Threlkeld double to put runners at first and third. Micah Gibbs singled in the next at-bat to score Dozeier from third and move Threlkeld to third.
Ethan Chapman then executed a perfect bunt single to score Threlkeld, the second RBI bunt single in two games for the Naturals.
In the fourth, Gibbs singled, stole second and scored on Angel Franco's bloop single to put Northwest Arkansas up 3-0.
The Drillers offense woke up in the top of the fifth inning and turned the 3-0 deficit into a 4-3 lead. After a single and a walk put Brian Humphries and Simon on base, Joey Wong hit a shallow fly ball to center field.
Naturals center fielder Lane Adams attempted to make a diving catch, but the ball bounced past Adams and resulted in a two-run triple for Wong, his second triple of the series.
Saturday night's hero, David Kandilas, made sure Wong got home. The Australian launched the second pitch he saw well over the left field wall to score the Drillers' third and fourth runs and record his second home run in two games.
Tulsa extended their lead to 6-3 in the top of the sixth. Jayson Langfels reached second base to lead off the inning after a routine grounder to third baseman Hunter Dozier slipped past and into left field. A walk and single loaded the bases for Brian Humphries, who scored Langfels from third and moved Massey to third with a sac fly.
Massey then scored on an RBI ground out from Simon.
The Naturals did not wait long to bounce back, as a run in the home half of the sixth and two more in the seventh evened the contest at 6-6.
Three straight singles loaded the bases to start the sixth inning and ended Ryan Kulik's first start as a Driller. Reliever Ryan Arrowood came in and forced Gibbs to ground into a double play, but Cheslor Cuthbert was still able to score from third on the play.
Ethan Chapman drew a walk to begin the bottom of the seventh and was followed by Lane Adams' single. Calixte sac bunted the runners over to second and third in the next at-bat. Jorge Bonifacio then hit a grounder to the left side which rolled under the glove of Taylor Featherston for Tulsa's first error of the game. Chapman and Adams both scored on the play and evened the score.
The game would remain tied until Simon led off the top of the ninth with his sixth home run of the season on a ball that was ripped over the left center field wall. Simon's run was the first of four for the Drillers in the ninth inning.
Wong followed Simon with a double and scored on a throwing error from pitcher Malcolm Culver when Culver tried to throw out Wong on Kandilas's sac bunt.
A sac fly and a ground out scored two more for the Drillers, who scored ten runs for the second time in three games.
Tulsa starter Kulik pitched five innings and gave up four earned runs on nine hits and no walks while striking out three.
Ken Roberts and Nelson Gonzalez combined to not allow a base runner for the final 2.2 innings.
Eight different Drillers recorded hits in the game, and Ryan Casteel extended his hitting streak to 10 games.
Tulsa will now enjoy two days off for the All-Star break before returning to action Wednesday night at ONEOK Field for a six game series against the San Antonio Missions and Corpus Christi Hooks.
The Drillers will send a whopping nine players to the Little Rock for the All-Star game Tuesday night.