The Tulsa Drillers fell one win short of a four-game sweep of Northwest Arkansas with a loss Sunday afternoon at ONEOK Field. The Naturals salvaged the final game of the series with a 10-5 victory on a sunny but windy day in downtown Tulsa. The loss for the Drillers snapped a season high three-game winning streak.
The Naturals opened the scoring off Tulsa starter Chris Anderson in the top of the second when Mike Bianucci doubled home Bubba Starling.
Travis Witherspoon got the run back for Tulsa in the bottom half of the inning. The opposite field fly carried with the wind and landed in the right field bullpen for a solo home run. It was Witherspoon's first homer of the season and evened the score at 1-1.
Travis Witherspoon receives congratulations for his second-inning homer. (Rich Crimi)
Northwest Arkansas went back in front with three runs in the third. With one out, Anderson hit Dusty Coleman with a pitch, and Alex Liddi followed with his third home run of the season. After the homer, Jorge Bonifacio doubled and Starling plated him with a two-out single to put the Naturals in front 4-1.
Tulsa cut its deficit to one with a pair of runs in the bottom of the fourth. Brian Burgamy and Witherspoon had back-to-back singles to open the inning before Lars Anderson drew a walk to load the bases. After Luis Mateo lined out, Shawn Zarraga delivered his first Drillers' hit when he singled into centerfield, scoring both Burgamy and Witherspoon to pull Tulsa to within a run.
The Naturals got one of the runs back in their next at-bat when Liddi hit his second homer of the day, a solo shot that made it 5-3.
Burgamy got the Drillers back to within a run with his first home run of season in the bottom of the seventh, but they would get no closer.
The Naturals put the victory away with three-runs in the eighth and two more in the ninth.
Lars Anderson, in his first game back with the Drillers, provided a consolation run with an impressive solo homer in the bottom of the eighth that cleared the centerfield fence just to the right of the 400' marker.
Both Burgamy and Mateo picked up two hits each to extend their hitting streaks to seven straight games.
The game featured 21 hits, 16 walks and 5 homers.
Chris Anderson was charged with his first of the year. He was 3-0 entering the game after winning his initial three starts of the season.
The Drillers will now head back on the road for the next five days. The trip will begin Monday night in Little Rock with the first game of a four-game set with Arkansas. Julio Urias (1-1, 3.07 ERA) will pitch the opener for Tulsa, while Arkansas will counter with Albert Suarez (1-2, 3.94). Starting time is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. at Dickey Stephens Park.