Northwest Arkansas, behind starting pitcher Jake Junis, finally put an end to the Tulsa Drillers historic winning streak Thursday night. Junis held the Drillers to only three hits and one run in six innings of work, and a pair of Naturals' relievers combined to throw three shutout innings as Northwest Arkansas defeated Tulsa 3-1. The defeat, before a big crowd of 7,237 at ONEOK Field, ended the first-place Drillers franchise record 10-game winning streak.
The loss also kept them from matching the Tulsa all-time professional baseball record of 11 wins in a row that was set by the Tulsa Oilers during their 1974 Triple-A season. Professional baseball has been played in Tulsa since 1905.
The Naturals gave Junis an early lead to work with thanks to an unearned run in the top of the first inning. After Drillers starting pitcher Tim Shibuya retired the first two batters of the game, Ryan O'Hearn doubled. Mauricio Ramos hit what appeared to be an inning-grounder, but shortstop Drew Maggi misplayed it for an error, leaving runners at the corners. Shibuya then threw a wild pitch, allowing O'Hearn to come home with the game's first run.
Northwest Arkansas doubled its lead in the third inning. Three straight singles from Corey Toups, O'Hearn and Ramos made it 2-0.
The Drillers got their lone run against Junis in the bottom half of the third. Maggi led off with a double, and Andrew Toles followed with a base hit that advanced Maggi to third. On the next pitch, Alex Verdugo hit a bouncer up the middle that turned into a double play, but Maggi came home to pull Tulsa to within 2-1.
The Naturals got the run back in the eighth inning. Leadoff batter Toups drew a nine-pitch walk from Rob Rogers and scored all the way from first on a one-out double from Ramos.
Shibuya worked the first five innings and was charged with two runs, one earned, on six hits. He was charged with the loss that dropped his record to 0-2.
The win was the third in a row for Junis and improved his record to 6-3. In his three-game winning streak, the right-hander has allowed only 1 run in 19 innings of work (0.47 ERA).
Kevin McCarthy held the Drillers without a hit over the final two innings to record his 11th save of the year.
The Drillers will wrap up their homestand Friday night with the fifth and final game of their series with the Naturals. The pitching matchup will feature Chase De Jong (5-4, 2.85 ERA) against Ashton Goudeau (1-2, 2.84 ERA). First pitch is scheduled for 7:05PM at ONEOK Field.