In a game that began at 11:05AM, the Arkansas Travelers had no trouble getting started Wednesday morning at ONEOK Field. The Travelers put the Tulsa Drillers in an early hole with two runs in each of the first two innings and cruised to an 8-3 win before a student-filled crowd of 7,685.
The defeat was the fifth-straight home loss for the second-place Drillers whose overall record stands at 12-14.
The Travelers wasted little time in establishing a comfortable lead, scoring two runs in each of the first two innings.
Arkansas leadoff man Kyle Hudson lined a double on the first pitch of the game from Tulsa starter Richard Castillo. Castillo retired the next two hitters before Brian Hernandez singled home Hudson with the first run of the game. Hernandez stole second base and scored on Kaleb Cowart's base hit to make it 2-0.
In the second inning, Adam Melker led off with a base hit and strolled home on Andy Workman's one-out homer. The towering drive landed in the front row of the Budweiser Terrace Section in left field and just out of the reach of a leaping Brian Humphries.
Arkansas produced its third two-run inning of the game in the fifth. With one out, Cowart singled and Jett Bandy reached on an error by third baseman Jayson Langfels. Melker then lined a double into left field that scored both runners to give the Travelers a 6-0 lead.
Arkansas starting pitcher Mark Sappington entered the game with a 6.04 ERA, but he held the Drillers scoreless through the first five innings before they produced a two-run inning of their own. Taylor Featherston drew a leadoff walk and advanced to second on a base hit by Cristhian Adames. Ryan Casteel followed with a liner that skipped by a sliding Zach Borenstein in left field. Featherston scored on the two-base hit, and Adames followed him home two pitches later when Dustin Garneau produced a sacrifice fly.
The Travelers restored their six-run lead with two more runs in the top of the seventh. Hernandez began the inning with a leadoff double against Tulsa reliever Ryan Arrowood. Cowart brought him home with his third hit of the game. Melker completed the inning with a run-scoring hit that scored Cowart to make it 8-2.
The Drillers scored a final run in the eighth inning when Featherston doubled and eventually scored on a ground out by Casteel.
Sappington (1-3) picked up his first victory of the season with seven solid innings. He allowed the two runs on four hits and five walks while also striking out five.
Castillo suffered the loss, dropping his record to 1-2. He surrendered a season high 10 hits and 6 runs in 5 innings of work.
The two teams will continue their series Thursday night at ONEOK Field. Eddie Butler (1-2, 2.87 ERA) will be on the mound for the Drillers, while the Travelers have yet to announce a starting pitcher. First pitch in downtown Tulsa is scheduled for 7:05PM.