SPRINGDALE, Arkansas – The Tulsa Drillers narrowly missed finishing a shutout, but still snapped their losing streak with a 5-1 win over the NW Arkansas Naturals Thursday.
The Tulsa pitchers dominated from start to finish. Joey Williamson allowed only one hit while striking out five, but had to be pulled after four innings and thus did not qualify for a win. But Dustin Molleken matched him pitch-for-pitch, also pitching four innings and giving up just one hit.
The Drillers (49-54) entered the ninth having given up only two hits and two pitchers, but used three pitchers in the final frame alone.
Stephen Dodson walked two batters and gave up two hits, one of which was an RBI single by Wil Myers. That ended the shutout, but Tulsa made quick work of the next two batters to seal the victory.
With the excellent pitching, all the run support the Drillers needed came in the second inning, when Brian Rike launched a two-run home run. Mike Zuanich hit a solo homer in the fourth, and Rike added a two-run double in the sixth to provide all of Tulsa's runs. Rike finished hitting 2-for-4 with four RBIs.
The victory ended a four-game skid for the Drillers and marked the end of their series with the Naturals. However, they will remain in the same state to face the Arkansas Travelers starting at 7:05 p.m. Friday.