The Tulsa Drillers six-game road trip to the state of Texas appeared headed to a winning start Tuesday night in Midland. The Drillers built an early five-run cushion in the opener, but slowly watched the lead evaporate. The lead eventually fell when the RockHounds completed their comeback with three runs in the bottom of the eighth to post an 8-6 win over the Drillers.
It was a disappointing start to the trip for the Drillers who were only four outs from the victory when a bases-clearing double gave the Hounds their first lead of the night.
Tulsa's early lead came courtesy of a pair of three-run innings. The first came in the second and began when Jeremy Rathjen drew a leadoff walk, and Adam Law reached on a throwing error by pitcher Chris Lamb. Third baseman Jarek Cunningham followed with his second Double-A home run to give Tulsa a 3-0 lead.
The RockHounds got one of the runs back in the bottom half of the second when Josh Whitaker led off with a double and eventually scored on a double play grounder.
The Drillers early offensive output continued in the fourth when three more runs upped their lead to 6-1. Cunningham led off with a base hit, and Travis Witherspoon delivered his third home run of the season. After the homer, Luis Mateo doubled and later scored the inning's third run on a sacrifice fly from Peter Lavin.
Midland got right back in the game with four runs of its own in the bottom of the fourth. Tulsa starting pitcher Randy Fontanez issued a leadoff walk to Matt Olson before Whitaker deposited his third home run of the year over the left field fence.
After Fontanez picked up a strikeout, Ryon Healy singled and moved to third on a double by Jaycob Brugman. Healy came home on a passed ball by catcher Shawn Zarraga, and Brugman scored on a ground out from Carson Blair to trim Tulsa's lead to 6-5.
The Drillers bullpen maintained the lead through the next three frames before the Hounds struck again in the eighth. The game-deciding rally started when Olson drew a leadoff walk from Jacob Rhame. Rhame retired the next two hitters before Healy extended the inning with a two-out single.
Dustin Richardson was summoned from the bullpen and he walked Brugman to fill the bases for Carson Blair. Blair brought everyone home with three-run double into the left field corner that gave the RockHounds their first lead of the night.
Closer Ryan Dull preserved the lead by pitching around a leadoff double from Lars Anderson in the ninth.
Manager Razor Shines was ejected for the second time this season following Blair's bases-clearing double in the eighth inning.
Tulsa lost despite being issued seven walks over the game's first six innings. Drillers' hitters struck out 15 times in the contest.
Mateo, Anderson and Cunningham lead Tulsa offensively with two hits each.
The two teams will be back in action Wednesday night in west Texas. Jeremy Kehrt (3-3, 3.07 ERA) will take the mound for the Drillers against Chris Jensen (3-3, 5.55 ERA) of the RockHounds. Starting time is slated for 6:30PM.