The Tulsa Drillers dropped a pitcher's duel to Northwest Arkansas Saturday night by a final score of 2-1. After the game had remained locked in a 1-1 tie since the third inning, Orlando Calixte launched a line drive home run off of Tulsa reliever Nelson Gonzalez to drop the Drillers in walk-off fashion.
Only eight days ago, Calixte gave Northwest Arkansas a 9-8 win on what was also a walk-off solo home run.
The starters for both teams had very effective outings. Tulsa starter Tyler Anderson threw five innings, allowing only one run on five hits and three walks while striking out four. Naturals starter Jason Adam was even better, lasting seven innings while only giving up one run on four hits and one walk and striking out three.
For the second straight night, the Drillers scored a run in the top of the first inning. Delta Cleary Jr. lined a single to right and moved to third on Christhian Adames's ensuing single. Cleary Jr. then scored two batters later on a wild pitch by Adam.
In the bottom of the second, it appeared as though Jared Schlehuber had given Northwest Arkansas the lead with a two-run homer to left. However, after Schlehuber had already rounded the bases and returned to the Naturals dugout, the umpires overturned the home run, declaring the ball had just leaked foul. Anderson would take advantage of the call, working his way out of a bases-loaded jam after Schlehuber eventually singled and Justin Trapp drew a walk, keeping Northwest Arkansas scoreless.
The Naturals tied the game in the bottom of the third when Lane Adams drew a walk, stole second and scored on a ground ball single from Calixte that slipped by an outstretched Taylor Featherston.
In the bottom of the ninth, with the game still tied at one, Calixte again came to the plate. On a 2-1 offering from Gonzalez, Calixted ripped the ball down the left field line. Unlike Schlehuber's hard-hit liner in the second inning, the ball stayed fair and blew past the left field fence to give the Naturals a walk-off win.
Despite the loss, which dropped the Drillers' record to 22-20, Tulsa remains in first place in the Texas League North.
The two teams will now head to Tulsa for two more games, the first being Sunday. LHP Carlos Hernandez (1-2, 2.39 ERA) will make his fourth spot-start of the season, taking the place of Richard Castillo, who was recently placed on the DL. Hernandez will take on Naturals RHP Tim Melville (1-3, 3.38 ERA). First pitch in downtown Tulsa is scheduled for 2:05 p.m.
NOTES: 1B Harold Riggins left the game in the seventh inning with an apparent injury after running out a ground ball out. IF Jayson Langfels replaced Riggins in the game.
On Friday, the Drillers placed RHP Richard Castillo on the DL, retroactive to May 14. The Drillers also placed C Tom Murphy on the DL, effective May 16.
Colorado Rockies Supervisor of AA Development Ron Gideon served as the Drillers interim manager in tonight's game and will do so for the next two. Tulsa manager Kevin Riggs is currently away from the team to be home with his family for his son's high school graduation. Riggs is expected to resume his managerial role for Wednesday, May 21's series opener in Frisco.