The Tulsa Drillers had a wild past week. The week was supposed to kick off with a series finale against the Frisco RoughRiders at ONEOK Field, but was cancelled due to wet grounds. The cancellation gave the team a rare two days off before they would see action again in a four-game set on the road against the Springfield Cardinals.
From there things seemed to pick up for the Drillers, as two solid pitching performances led them to two straight wins. However, with the good sometimes comes the bad. Tulsa closed the week with three straight losses, once again squelching positive momentum and forcing the team to regain their focus to get back on track.
Monday: Wet grounds forced the cancellation of Tulsa’s final first half meeting with Frisco, and team officials announced that the game will not be made up. Fans with tickets for the game may use them at any future Drillers game depending on availability of seats.
Wednesday: Bruce Billings has been one of the big stories this season for the Drillers. The right-hander continued to add chapters to his story during the first of a four-game road swing at Springfield. Despite finally having his scoreless inning streak snapped, Billings put in enough solid work to break a Tulsa professional baseball record that has stood for 60 years.
Billings allowed just two hits through seven and two-thirds innings while striking out six to extend his scoreless inning streak to a record 39 innings. Billings doubled in the top of the eighth inning and scored on a single by Charles Blackmon as he once again proved his strengths are not just on the mound. Daniel Mayora later drove in Blackmon on a double to left field as the Drillers went on to claim a 2-1 win.
Thursday: Keith Weiser allowed six hits and three runs through six innings while striking out four batters as the Drillers outlasted the Cardinals 7-3. Tulsa jumped out to an early three-run lead in the top of the second inning after Ryan Harvey led off the inning reaching base on a fielding error by shortstop Pete Kozma. With Mayora at the plate, Harvey successfully stole second and scored when Mayora knocked a base hit to left field.
Mayora reached second on the throw and advanced to third base when Wilin Rosario singled to left field. Mayora would be thrown out attempting to steal home, while Rosario would later score on a passed ball. Jason Van Kooten later scored to post Tulsa’s third run before Blackmon added to the total with a solo homer in the top of the fifth.
Springfield pulled within one run in the bottom half of the inning but would not get any closer. The Drillers tacked on a three more insurance runs in the late innings to secure their third straight win.
Friday: The Drillers jumped out to an early one-run lead on an Eider Torres triple that drove in Blackmon, but it was the Cardinals that would pull out a 6-3 win. Cardinal pitcher Chuckie Fick hit a ground-rule double in the bottom of the second, scoring Tyler Henley. Daryl Jones then drove in Kozma to give Springfield the lead that they would not relinquish.
Springfield added two more runs in the sixth and another in the eighth to pull away. Fick picked up the win, his first of the year, as he struck out seven while allowing just three hits through five innings of work. Greg Reynolds lasted just one and two-thirds innings in his second rehab start of the season for the Drillers.
Saturday: Springfield cruised to an 8-1 win after taking an early 3-0 lead in the first inning. Starter David Kopp allowed just one Tulsa run, scattering seven hits and striking out four through seven innings. Anthony Jackson had two hits on four at bats, including one RBI as Springfield out-hit Tulsa 13-8.
Sunday: The Drillers homecoming to ONEOK Field was spoiled thanks to the Northwest Arkansas Naturals. The Naturals put the Drillers in a 4-0 hole, scoring two runs in the first and third innings before Tulsa finally got on the board in the fourth. Harvey singled on a grounder to center field, advancing Torres from second base on Tulsa’s lone run of the day.
The Naturals displayed why they possess the Texas League leading team batting average, as they collected 12 hits while the Drillers only managed five. Drillers starter Brandon Durden was credited with all five Naturals runs, as he gave up 11 hits through six innings of play. Mario Santiago picked up the win for Northwest Arkansas, as he pitched a solid six and two-thirds innings while allowing three hits and one run.
THE WEEK AHEAD
A full slate of home games is on tap for the Drillers this week. Northwest Arkansas remains in town through Wednesday, before the Drillers finish their current homestand with a five-game series against the Arkansas Travelers. The current homestand features a 12:05 p.m. start-time on Wednesday and a double-header on Saturday.
Texas League North: Northwest Arkansas (37-24), Springfield (32-29), Tulsa (25-34), Arkansas (22-38).
Texas League South: Frisco (36-25), San Antonio (33-29), Corpus Christi (30-32), Midland (29-33).
Average: Daniel Mayora (.286) Hits: Daniel Mayora (50) Doubles: Daniel Mayora (15) Triples: Jason Van Kooten, Anthony Jackson, Daniel Mayora (3) Homeruns: Ryan Harvey, Wilin Rosario (8) RBI: Ryan Harvey (27).
Wins: Bruce Billings (5) ERA: Scott Rice (1.26) Saves: Craig Baker (5) Strikeouts: Cory Riordan (52).
Tuesday, June 15 – Girls night out, Rescue me night, Reasors two dollar Tuesday, KRAFT singles Tuesday night tickets presented by Indigo Spa and Salon, Belk, Pepsi, Frito Lay, 2 News Works for You and KRAFT Singles. Wednesday, June 16 – Day game / Nick at night day / business person cap giveaway presented by Cox Business and KRMG AM 640 & FM 102.3. Thursday, June 17 – Thirsty Thursday. Friday, June 18 – Fireworks Friday / Principal Financial Group family fun fest presented by KTUL News channel 8 and Principal Financial Group. Saturday, June 19 – Saturday in the park / Drillers cap giveaway presented by Celebrity attractions and 98.5 KVOO. Sunday, June 20 – TTCU Family FUNday Sunday / Father’s day presented by TTCU The Credit Union and 92.9 KBEZ.
Tickets are available for all upcoming Drillers games are available at the ONEOK Field box office, by calling 744-5901 or online at Tulsa drillers.com.