The Tulsa Drillers endured a long and frustrating travel day Wednesday, but it did not affect their performance in the opening game of a six-game road trip. The Drillers got to Corpus Christi's Whataburger Field less than an hour before the scheduled first pitch, but the late arrival seemed to have no affect as Tulsa scored three runs in each of the first two innings and cruised to a 9-3 victory over the Hooks.
The Drillers were scheduled to depart Tulsa International Airport early Wednesday morning, but mechanical problems on their scheduled flight to Houston caused problems. The delay kept them from making their connecting flight out of Houston, forcing them to take an unplanned 3½ hour bus trip to Corpus Christi.
Hooks' management accommodated the Drillers by delaying the start of the game by 15 minutes. Once it finally began, Tulsa's bats were ready. Ronald Torreyes hit the first pitch of the game over the left field fence to promptly give the Drillers a 1-0 lead. Peter Lavin followed with a bunt single, and Brian Burgamy drew a walk. One out later, both Lavin and Burgamy came home on a double from Kyle Farmer.
Tulsa struck for three more runs in the second. With one out, Adam Law reached on an error and moved to third on a base hit by Torreyes. Lavin brought home Law with a sacrifice fly before Bergamy belted his sixth Double-A home run of the season to make it 6-0.
Jack Mayfield got the Hooks on the board in the second with a solo homer, but the Drillers got the run back in the top of the third. Shawn Zarraga drew a leadoff walk and eventually scored to make it 7-1. Zarraga crossed the plate on a sacrifice fly from Jarek Cunningham that was actually caught by the second baseman.
The Hooks scored a pair of runs in the bottom of the fifth. Chan Moon worked a walk from Jharel Cotton, then scored on a triple from Brett Phillips. When Adam Law's relay throw skipped by third base, Phillips also came home on the play to trim Tulsa's lead to 7-3.
A two-run double from Cunningham in the ninth completed the scoring.
The Tulsa bullpen held the Hooks off over the final three innings. Ralston Cash worked a scoreless seventh, and Jorge De Leon did the same in the eighth. Jacob Rhame got the first two outs in the ninth before Ramon Benjamin retired the game's final batter to close out the win.
Cotton turned in six quality innings to pick up the victory and improve his Double-A record to a perfect 3-0. He allowed only four hits and two earned runs while walking three and striking out eight.
The Drillers totaled 17 hits in the contest, including 3 from Lavin. The center fielder had a single and a pair of doubles. Farmer also had three hits while Torreyes, Cunningham and Yadir Drak added two each.
The two teams will be back in action Thursday night for game two of their series. Ross Stripling (1-2, 5.54 ERA) will pitch for the Drillers against Locust Grove, Oklahoma native Adrian Houser (0-2, 3.95 ERA) for the Hooks. Starting time is again scheduled for 7:05PM at Whataburger Field.