The Tulsa Drillers opened a four-game series with first-place Arkansas Tuesday night with the hope of making up ground in the second-half pennant race. But, Travelers' starting pitcher Sean Newcomb had other ideas. Newcomb held the Drillers without a hit through the first seven innings, and the Travs scored an unearned run in the eighth to post a 1-0 victory. The result dropped Tulsa five games behind Arkansas in the North Division standings.
Newcomb's effort overshadowed an impressive outing from Drillers' starter Julio Urias. Urias surrendered only four hits in six shutout innings, and did not walk a batter while striking out three. The lefthander did not factor into the decision while lowering his ERA to 2.77.
Newcomb, who was making only his fifth Double-A appearance, was even better, holding the Drillers without a hit in his seven innings. The Arkansas lefthander registered six strikeouts and only one walk. He departed with his no-hitter in place despite throwing only 64 total pitches through his seven innings.
Erisbel Arruebarrena ended the no-hit bid with two outs in the top of the eighth inning with a triple off reliever Greg Mahle. The Drillers failed to capitalize on the extra-base hit as Peter Lavin flied out to end the inning.
The Travelers scored their run in the bottom of the eighth, and it was aided by an error. Sherman Johnson opened the inning with a ground ball that was misplayed by first baseman Lars Anderson for an error. After a sacrifice bunt moved Johnson into scoring position, Erick Salcedo delivered a two-out base hit off reliever Grant Dayton to give the Travelers the lead.
It could have been more than one run, but left fielder Brandon Dixon made a highlight-reel catch to end the inning. After a pair of walks loaded the bases, Chad Hinshaw hit a deep drive that appeared headed for extra bases, but Dixon made and over-the-shoulder catch to end the inning.
Mahle ended any hopes for a comeback by setting the Drillers down in order in the ninth.
The well-pitched game took only 1:59 to complete.
Tulsa still has a chance to cut into its deficit in the standings, as the two teams will continue their series Wednesday night at Dickey-Stephens Ballpark. Ross Stripling (3-4, 3.65 ERA) will pitch for the Drillers against Michael Brady (6-5, 3.65 ERA) of the Travelers. Starting time in North Little Rock is scheduled for 7:10PM.