The Tulsa Drillers opened a four-game series in Springdale Friday night Northwest Arkansas, and they were unable to cool off the red-hot Naturals. Northwest Arkansas entered the contest on a five-game winning streak and continued its strong play with an emphatic win over the Drillers. The Naturals pounded out 15 hits and scored 10 runs in posting a 10-3 victory at Arvest Ballpark.
The game was the first this season for the Drillers without the services of Corey Seager. The highly-touted prospect was promoted to Triple A by the Los Angeles Dodgers following Thursday's game in Little Rock.
The Naturals' big offensive night began early with a two-out rally in the bottom of the first. Tulsa starter Chris Anderson retired the first two batters, but Alex Liddi extended the inning with a double. Balbino Fuenmayor followed with a base hit that brought Liddi home to make it 1-0.
A tough third inning for Anderson and the Drillers increased the lead to 6-0. The inning began with a walk to Liddi and a base hit by Fuenmayor. Hunter Dozier delivered a run-scoring double, and Micah Gibbs added a two-run single. Dusty Coleman capped the big inning with another two-run single.
The Drillers got on the scoreboard in the fourth when Brian Burgamy led off with a double and scored on a base hit by newcomer Yadir Drake.
The Naturals added two more runs in the fifth inning as Gibbs singled home another, and Ethan Chapman plated another with a sacrifice fly.
Consecutive doubles from Liddi and Fuenmayor to open the sixth made it 9-1. Later in the sixth, Gibbs' fourth hit produced his fourth RBI and put the Naturals in double figures.
Drake capped a successful Double-A debut for the Drillers with a two-run homer in the eighth inning that accounted for the final runs of the game.
The two teams will move to ONEOK Field Saturday night for game two of their four-game series. Julio Urias (1-1, 2.18 ERA) will pitch for the Drillers against Matt Murray (1-0, 6.23 ERA) for the Naturals. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05PM with a Fireworks Show after the game.
It will be a brief visit to Tulsa as the series moves back to Springdale for games three and four on Sunday and Monday.
NOTES: Drillers manager Razor Shines announced several roster moves prior to the game. In addition to Seager's move, the Dodgers released outfielders Jeremy Hazelbaker and Jon Garcia and pitcher Fabio Martinez. Tulsa added infielder Nate Samson from Triple-A Oklahoma City and outfielders Drake and Adam Law from Single-A Rancho Cucamonga. Pitcher Jorge DeLeon was officially returned from Ogden. . .Shines was ejected by umpire Brian Hernandez in the sixth inning. It was the first ejection of the season for Shines.