A record fourth straight sellout crowd filled ONEOK Field Friday night. They not only enjoyed a post-game fireworks show, but a solid performance from the Tulsa Drillers. The first-place Drillers used strong pitching and defense along with a pair of two-out rallies to produce a 5-0 victory over the Corpus Christi Hooks. It marked only the third time that the Hooks had been shut out this season.
The game also marked the ONEOK Field debuts for both starting pitchers. Tulsa starter Jharel Cotton's first two Double-A outings took place on the road. It was a homecoming for Hooks' starter Adrian Houser, who is a native of nearby Locust Grove, Oklahoma.
Both pitchers were outstanding through the first half of the game.
The Drillers finally opened the scoring with a two-out rally in the fifth off Houser. Jarek Cunningham singled with one out, but Houser struck out Jeremy Rathjen for the second out of the inning. Adam Law reached on an infield single to put runners at first and second for Ronald Torreyes with two outs. Torreyes split the gap in right-center field with a triple that brought both Cunningham and Law home to make it 2-0.
Tulsa added three more runs in the sixth. With two outs and the bases empty, Kyle Farmer doubled. The inning was extended when first baseman Conrad Gregor misplayed Peter Lavin's soft bouncer for an error. With runners at first and third, the Drillers called a double steal, and when second baseman Leo Heras' throw home sailed to the backstop, Farmer slid home with the third run. Consecutive run-scoring hits from Cunningham and Rathjen upped the lead to 5-0.
Cotton worked the first six inning, blanking the Hooks on only four hits. He did not walk a batter and struck out seven.
Jacob Rhame relieved Cotton and retired all six batters he faced, including four on strikeouts.
Chris Reed allowed a hit and a walk but worked a scoreless ninth thanks to a game-ending double play.
Torreyes accounted for three of Tulsa's ten hits, collecting a single, a double and a triple. Farmer also added three hits, while Cunningham added two.
Houser was charged with five runs in 5.2 innings, but only two of the runs were earned. The right-hander surrendered seven hits and also did not walk batter while striking out five.
The two teams will wrap up their three-game series Saturday night at ONEOK Field. Jose De Leon (2-2, 3.60 ERA) will pitch the finale for the Drillers against Michael Feliz of the Hooks (1-2, 4.03 ERA). Feliz has just returned to the Texas League after a short stint in the majors with the Houston Astros. Starting time for the finale in downtown Tulsa is scheduled for 7:05PM with a large Fireworks Spectacular slated for after the game.