The big crowd was entertained with home runs and big innings, but it was Northwest Arkansas who struck first and last to claim the victory.
Third baseman Hunter Dozier provided the Naturals with an early three-run lead. After Alex Liddi doubled and Lane Adams singled, Dozier belted his 12th home run of the season put Northwest Arkansas in front 3-0.
The Drillers used a pair of long balls of their own to erase the lead one inning later. Jeremy Rathjen got one of the runs back when he led off with his seventh homer of the year.
The home run seemed to unsettle Northwest Arkansas starter Jonathan Dziedzic, who entered the game as the Texas League's ERA leader. Dziedzic walked the next two batters before retiring Lars Anderson for the first out of the inning, bringing Kyle Farmer to the plate. Farmer, who was in a 1-20 slump entering the game, put the Drillers in front 4-3 with his second Double-A home run.
Tulsa held its one-run led until the top of the sixth inning. Reliever Ralston Cash seemed on his way to an easy inning as he retired the first two batters, but Adams tripled to keep the inning alive. After a passed ball by Farmer allowed Adams to come home with the tying run, Bubba Starling put the Naturals back in front. Starling delivered his 10th home run to give the Naturals a 5-4 lead.
The Drillers were unable to overcome Starling's big hit to keep their post-season hopes alive, despite keeping things interesting until the final out. In the bottom of the ninth, base hits by Peter Lavin and Brandon Dixon put the potential winning run on base. But, the runners were stranded as Anderson struck out and Farmer flied out to end the game.
Tulsa will now open a three-game series Saturday night in Springfield that will wrap up the 2015 schedule. The pitching matchup for the opener will feature Randy Fontanez (1-1, 5.76 ERA) for the Drillers against Corey Baker (6-5, 4.00 ERA) of Cardinals. First pitch is scheduled for 6:10PM at Hammons Field.