The Tulsa Drillers' struggles at ONEOK Field continued Thursday night. The Drillers jumped to an early 2-0 lead against Arkansas, but the Travelers scored seven unanswered runs and recorded a 7-2 victory. The loss was the fifth straight at home for Tulsa who saw its overall record fall to 12-15.
The game began promisingly for the Drillers, as they scored a pair of first-inning runs to take a quick lead. Taylor Featherston led off the opening inning with a double off Arkansas starter Orangel Arenas. Tom Murphy followed with another two-base hit to give Tulsa the lead. After an infield ground out, Dustin Garneau brought Murphy home with a sacrifice fly to make it 2-0.
Tulsa starter Eddie Butler breezed through the first three innings before running into trouble in the top of the fourth. After Zach Borenstein led off with a base hit, the key play of the game occurred. Brian Hernandez hit a liner back at Butler that struck the pitcher on his left wrist, just above his glove. The ball caromed to third baseman Jayson Langfels who fielded it and threw to first for the out. Trainer Chris Dovey and manager Kevin Riggs both paid a visit to the mound to check on Butler, but the right-hander remained in the game.
Kaleb Cowart followed the close call with a double that scored Borenstein to cut Tulsa's lead in half. After a wild pitch, an infield grounder from Jett Brandy plated Cowart to tie the game.
With two outs, Adam Melker singled and Alex Allbritton walked. Andy Workman brought both runners home with a double to left field that put the Travelers in front 4-2.
They added another run in the top of the fifth when Alex Yarbrough doubled and scored on a base hit by Hernandez.
Butler eventually worked six innings, surrendering a season high 11 hits and the 5 runs. He issued one walk and picked up only one strikeout. His record fell to 1-3 with the loss.
Arkansas put the game away with two more runs in the eighth inning off reliever Carlos Hernandez as Brian Hernandez singled in front of Cowart's second homer of the year.
The Drillers offense was limited after the two-run first inning. They did not score another run and were limited to only four hits over the game's final eight innings.
Arenas picked up the victory to even his record at 1-1. He worked six innings, surrendering the two runs on five hits.
Carmine Giardina pitched a scoreless seventh inning and struck out the side, while David Carpenter blanked the Drillers over the final two innings.
Featherston accounted for most of Tulsa's offense, collecting four of its six hits. It was the second four-hit game of the season for the Drillers infielder.
Tulsa will conclude its homestand Friday night against Arkansas. The pitching matchup will feature Dan Winkler (3-1, 0.90 ERA) for the Drillers and former Tulsa Union hurler Drew Rucinski (2-1, 2.91 ERA) for the Travelers. Starting time at ONEOK Field is scheduled for 7:05 p.m.