Following a 17 inning marathon game Tuesday night, where the only run of the ballgame was scored in the final inning, Springfield and Tulsa decided to change the script as the two teams combined for 24 hits and 9 runs. Drillers' starter Jeremy Kehrt turned in 7 quality innings while Luis Mateo, Brandon Dixon and Shawn Zarraga led the offense in a 6-3 victory over Springfield Wednesday night.
One night after Razor Shines had been forced to turn to a position player to pitch after running out of relievers, Kehrt delivered just what his team needed as he delivered seven innings in his fourth straight quality start. Kehrt evened his record at 3-3 with the victory while lowering his season ERA to 3.07. But the veteran right-hander was not the only player who stepped up on the night.
Mateo, Dixon and Zarraga were in the middle of the scoring all night, as they led an offense that had been struggling to score over the last couple of weeks.
After the Drillers went down 1-2-3 in the top of the first, the Cardinals drew first blood in the home half of the first. Charlie Tilson lined a leadoff double off Kehrt to begin the ballgame. Four batters later, Tilson had scored and the Cardinals were looking for more as they had the bases loaded with only one out. But Kehrt kept his composure and got an inning-ending double play to keep the Drillers deficit at one.
The Drillers got the run right back in the top of the second thanks to Dixon and some sloppy Cardinals' defense. Dixon knocked a one-out single and then decided to push the envelope as he broke for second with Adam Law at the plate. Springfield catcher Mike Ohlman threw the ball away into center field, allowing Dixon to advance to third on the play. That would hurt the Cardinals as Dixon scored on the very next play when third baseman Patrick Wisdom booted a grounder that allowed the Drillers to even the score at 1-1.
The game remained knotted up through the third before the Drillers came to bat in the fourth. Springfield starter Kyle Hald set down the first two batters of the inning before issuing a two-out walk to Law. Zarraga made Hald pay for that walk as he yanked a double down the left field line to give Tulsa a 2-1 lead.
The double for Zarraga was his second of the night as the burly catcher had his best offensive night as a Driller. Zarraga ended the night going 3-4 with an RBI and a run scored.
Dixon continued to come up big for Tulsa when he came to the plate again in the fifth with the bases loaded and one out. The second baseman delivered the big hit as he crushed a triple over the right fielder's head to clear the bases and give Tulsa a commanding 5-1 advantage.
Tulsa padded its lead in the sixth as Mateo hit a double to left to score Zarraga to extend the Drillers lead to 6-1.
Springfield scratched across a run in the eighth and ninth innings respectively against reliever Ramon Troncoso but that was all it could string together, bringing the final score to 6-3.
Hald took the loss for the Cardinals as he gave up all 6 runs over his six innings of work.
The Drillers and Cardinals will wrap up their four-game series Thursday night. Tulsa will send RHP Daniel Corcino (0-0, 16.87 ERA) to start the game which is scheduled for a 7:10PM start. Springfield will counter with RHP Thomas Lee (2-3, 6.93 ERA) as it looks to earn a series split with a victory.