After the first two games of the series between the Tulsa Drillers and Frisco RoughRiders featured plenty of offense, with the two clubs combining for 21 runs and 46 total hits, it would seem that Monday's matinee affair would offer more of the same. But offense would be in short supply this game as pitching dominated the contest. But Tulsa's bats came alive in the final frame, scoring three runs on three hits and two walks, to earn a 4-1 win over the Riders in the series finale at Dr Pepper Ballpark.
With the victory, the Drillers claimed the series win over the RoughRiders two games to one and finished their opening road trip of the season with a .500 record at 3-3.
Both starting pitchers, Scott Barlow for Tulsa and Connor Sadzeck for Frisco, came into the game looking to redeem themselves after less-than-stellar starts their last time out. And redeem themselves they did as both starters delivered five strong innings for their clubs to set the tone for the day.
Sadzeck was dominant as the burly right-hander struck out nine Drillers through his five innings of work while giving up just one hit.
Although he only collected three strikeouts, Barlow was just as dominant for Tulsa as he allowed just a bunt single through four innings while throwing only 44 pitches.
The Drillers broke up the scoreless affair in the fourth inning in an odd play that featured two errors after the previous two Tulsa batters had been hit by pitches.
With Tim Locastro on second and José Miguel Fernandez on first, Kyle Farmer hit a bloop fly ball into center. Frisco centerfielder Jose Cardona came racing in to try and make a basket catch at his shins, but the ball bounced off his glove towards right field. Royce Bolinger picked up the bouncing ball in right and fired it in towards second to try and get the force out of Fernandez. But Bolinger's throw short-hopped the Frisco shortstop who was covering the bag and ricocheted into no-man's land between first base and home. At that point, an alert Locastro rounded third and headed for home where he dove in safely ahead of the throw to Sadzeck from Frisco catcher Jose Trevino, putting Tulsa in front 1-0.
But Frisco knotted things up in the fifth off Barlow with a leadoff double from Luke Tendler followed by a two-out, RBI single from Michael De Leon to draw the home club even at 1-1.
The score held there for the next three frames as Yaisel Sierra and Joe Broussard combined to keep the Riders at bay while Frisco's bullpen did the same. But a leadoff double from Fernandez to begin the top of the ninth inning roused the Tulsa offense, as he ended a streak of 11 straight Drillers batters who had been previously retired.
Following a pop out from Farmer and an intentional walk issued to Edwin Rios, the Drillers caught a break when Trevino misfired on a pickoff attempt from behind the plate to second, allowing both runners to move up. The error was very unusual from Trevino as he had committed only two errors during all of the 2016 season.
With runners on second and third, Johan Mieses then worked a walk after being down in the count 1-2 to load the bases and bring Paul Hoenecke up to the plate. And Hoenecke delivered the big hit of the day as he grounded a base hit through the right side to plate Farmer and Rios, putting the Drillers in front 3-1.
After Sam Wolff recovered to strike out Wynston Sawyer for the second out of the frame, Frisco brought in Cody Palmquist to face Matt Beaty to try and get the final out. But Beaty gave the Drillers some breathing room as he lined an RBI single into center to give Tulsa a three-run advantage.
Broussard then retired the heart of the Frisco lineup in order in the bottom of the ninth to secure the victory and the series win.
Thanks to his two scoreless innings of work to finish the game, Broussard earned his first victory of the season. Wolff was saddled with the loss for Frisco after the three runs scored in the top half of the ninth.
Following an off-day on Wednesday, the Drillers will play their home opener in Tulsa against the Midland RockHounds on Thursday, April 13. RHP Isaac Anderson (0-1, 4.15 ERA) will start the home opener for the Drillers while the RockHounds will send Heath Fillmyer (0-0, 0.00 ERA) out to oppose him. To read about all the festivities planned for the night, click HERE. First pitch at ONEOK Field is scheduled for 7:05 PM.