For the third straight game Thursday night, the Tulsa Drillers were beaten by Northwest Arkansas despite out-hitting the Naturals. The Drillers' offense produced five hits compared to only four for Northwest Arkansas, but the Naturals recorded a 2-0 victory.
The loss was the third straight for the Drillers who were eliminated from the second-half pennant race with Wednesday's loss. Tulsa has 28 hits in the three losses, compared to only 19 for Northwest Arkansas.
The Drillers now has four games remaining in the regular season before beginning the North Division Playoff Series next week. The best-of-five series will begin with game one at ONEOK Field on Wednesday, September 4. The Drillers will also game two the following night.
The opponent for the series is still to be determined. Arkansas currently occupies first place in the North Division standings, but Northwest Arkansas will finish the season with a three-game series against the Travelers in Little Rock.
In Thursday's loss at Arvest Ballpark, Tulsa's offense was kept off the scoreboard by a combination of five different Naturals' pitchers.
Starter Ryan Verdugo, who started one game in the majors last season for the Kansas City Royals, blanked the Drillers on four hits through the first five innings. He did not walk a batter and struck out five while recording his first victory with the Naturals.
Four relievers combined to blank the Drillers over the final four innings.
Tulsa starter Daniel Winkler (1-2) pitched well but suffered his second Double A loss. Winkler allowed only two hits and one run in six strong innings. He issued one walk while picking up six strikeouts.
The lone run against Winkler came in the second inning. Lane Adams led off with a base hit and scored on a one-out triple from Matt Fields. It was the first three-base hit of the season for Fields who leads the Texas League with 31 home runs.
Adams and Fields struck again in the seventh inning against Tulsa reliever Leuris Gomez. Adams drew a leadoff walk and eventually scored the game's second run on a base hit by Adams.
Both Kiel Roling and Kyle Parker were absent from the Tulsa lineup. Roling, who played Wednesday for the first time since August 16, was originally in the lineup but was a late scratch.
The two teams will play the final game of their four-game series Friday night. Christian Bergman (8-7, 3.31 ERA) will take the mound for Tulsa against Andy Ferguson (3-5, 5.20 ERA) for Northwest Arkansas. Starting time is scheduled for 7:00PM.