After dropping three straight games at ONEOK Field to close out their recent homestand, the Tulsa Drillers were hoping a change of venue would change their fortunes as they opened a four-game series at Northwest Arkansas Thursday night. The Drillers actually have a much better road record (22-14) than home mark (16-19) this season. Unfortunately, the change of scenery did not change the results as Northwest Arkansas recorded a 4-2 win over Tulsa.
The loss was the fourth straight for the Drillers, their longest losing streak of the season. The defeat dropped their second-half record to 0-3.
In Thursday's loss, Tulsa jumped to a quick lead by scoring a run in the top of the first inning. With one out, Joey Wong hit his first triple of the season, and Cristhian Adames followed with a sacrifice fly to give the Drillers a quick 1-0 lead.
The Naturals answered with a run of their own in the bottom half of the first. Lane Adams led off with a base hit against Tulsa starter Richard Castillo and eventually scored on a two-out double by Cheslor Cuthbert that leveled the score.
Adams put Northwest Arkansas in front for the first time with a home run in the third inning. It was the sixth homer of the season for the centerfielder and gave the Naturals a 2-1 lead.
The Drillers tied the score again with a run in the top of the fourth. Jayson Langfels singled, stole second and scored on a base hit by Harold Riggins when the throw back into the infield was errant.
The Naturals took the lead for good with a pair of unearned runs in the bottom of the fourth. Cuthbert reached on an error by shortstop Taylor Featherston to open the fourth. Castillo retired the next two batters, but Justin Trapp singled to prolong the inning. Catcher Micah Gibbs followed with a double that scored both runners, giving Northwest Arkansas a 4-2 lead.
Riggins made a bid to put Tulsa in front in the eighth inning. With two runners on, the first baseman hit a deep drive to right field that Jorge Bonifacio caught just in front of the fence to keep the Naturals lead intact.
Northwest Arkansas starting pitcher Jason Adam (2-6) picked up only his second win of the season. Adam surrendered 6 hits and 2 runs and recorded 10 strikeouts.
Overall, Tulsa hitters struck out 15 times in the contest. Every player in the lineup struck out at least one time. A trio of Northwest Arkansas relievers blanked the Drillers on only one hit over the final 3 2/3 innings.
Castillo's record dropped to 2-6 with the tough-luck loss. He allowed only two earned runs on six hits in six innings of work.
Adames finished 0-3, snapping his 11-game hitting streak.