The weather is not the only thing warming up this July, the Tulsa Drillers are on fire with a record of 12-4 this month. After a shaky start to the 2010 season, the Drillers have soared to a 15-7 record in the second half and are currently tied for first place in the Texas League North with the Northwest Arkansas Naturals. Tulsa was 6-1 in their most recent road swing, and finished last week with a record of 4-2.
Monday, July 12: Drillers 2, Missions 1 – It was another come from behind effort for Tulsa, as they scored the game-winning run in the final inning on a San Antonio error. With Kiel Roling on second in the top of the ninth, Lars Davis knocked a drive towards first base that went under the glove of Matt Clark and into right field. Roling reached home on the play to give Tulsa a 2-1 lead.
Rex Brothers then came on in relief and held on to earn the save. Andy Graham picked up the win for the Drillers, allowing no hits or runs while striking out one batter in one inning of work. Starter Cory Riordan turned in a solid performance, allowing three hits and just one run while striking out seven through six innings.
Tuesday, July 13: Drillers 8, Missions 0 – It was all Drillers in their series finale at San Antonio on Tuesday afternoon. Ching Lung Lo picked up his third win of the season after allowing only one hit and one walk through five innings. Bruce Billings, Craig Baker and Chris Malone all teamed up in the late innings to secure the shutout bid for Lo. The big win pushed the Drillers’ six-day road trip record to 7-1 for a share of the division lead and marking the most wins on a road trip since the 2001 season.
Michael Mitchell sent a single to right field in the first inning to drive in Charles Blackmon for a 1-0 lead. Tulsa tacked on one run each in the second and third before adding five runs in the final two innings. Johnny Bowden and Radames Nazario were each 2-for-4 on the night, accounting for two runs scored each.
Thursday, July 15: Drillers 17, Travelers 2 – The Drillers returned home for a four-game swing with the Arkansas Travelers, and remained hot despite a rain delay. Tulsa cranked out four homers on the night, including a grand slam by Blackmon, the first ever at ONEOK Field. Arkansas struck first, taking a 1-0 lead in the top of the second inning, but the lead would not last.
Warren Schaeffer drove in Roling on a single in the bottom half of the inning before Blackmon would give the Drillers the lead for good. With the bases loaded and two-outs Blackmon blasted a shot over the right center field wall and into the bullpen to put Tulsa up 5-1. Roling and Wilin Rosario each added homers in an eight-run seventh inning for the Drillers.
Keith Weiser picked up his seventh win of the season, striking out four batters while allowing six hits and two runs through seven innings of work.
Friday, July 16: Travelers 13, Drillers 0 – The Travelers, and more specifically Tyler Chatwood, seemed to take exception to the pounding they received the previous night from the Drillers and they took their aggression out to the tune of a 13-0 drubbing. Chatwood, in his fifth Double A start, tossed a nine-inning shutout, striking out six while allowing just three hits. Arkansas posted a 3-0 lead in the first and never looked back, adding four and five runs in the fourth and eighth innings respectively to snap Tulsa’s winning streak at four games.
Saturday, July 17: Drillers 7, Travelers 4 – The Drillers bounced back from their worst loss of the season to post their ninth win in their last 11 games. Brandon Durden turned in a solid effort, striking out four batters while allowing five hits and three runs through six innings to pick up his fourth win of the season. Jason Van Kooten blasted his tenth round-tripper of the season in the sixth inning to put the Drillers up 6-3.
Arkansas posted one run In the top of the seventh to cut the lead to two runs before Tulsa added another run in the bottom of the eighth when Van Kooten plated Rosario from second base. Lo and Stu Pomeranz combined to allow no hits and no runs through the final two innings. Pomeranz picked up his tenth save of the season.
Sunday, July 18: Travelers 6, Drillers 1 – Arkansas struck early, scoring two first-inning runs and never looked back as they took the final game of the four-game series. Tulsa ace Christian Friedrich, who last week played in the Major League Baseball Futures All-Star game, was knocked out of the game in the first inning after Charlton Jimerson hit struck him in his left elbow. The injury to Friedrich’s pitching elbow was not believed to be serious although further examinations were scheduled for Monday.
The Travelers went on to add one run each in the third and sixth innings before tacking on two in the final frame. Tulsa’s lone run came in the bottom of the fifth inning on an RBI single from Nazario. With two outs and runners on first and second, Nazario singled on a ground ball to right field that brought home Davis from second base.
THE WEEK AHEAD
The Drillers have a short, four-game road trip against the Springfield Cardinals before returning home on Friday night for a seven-game homestand. Tulsa will have a four-game duel with Arkansas from Friday through Monday before facing off with North Division co-leader Northwest Arkansas July 27 through July 29. The upcoming homestand could be key in Tulsa’s bid to hold on to the division lead.
Monday, July 19 at Springfield; Tuesday, July 20 at Springfield; Wednesday, July 21 at Springfield; Thursday, July 22 at Springfield; Friday, July 23 home vs. Arkansas (Fireworks Friday presented by 97.5 KMOD); Saturday, July 24 home vs. Arkansas (ZOOperstars! Presented by KJAMZ 105.3); Sunday, July 25 home vs. Arkansas (TTCU Family FUNday Sunday / Christmas in July presented by TTCU the Credit Union and MIX 96).
Texas League North: Northwest Arkansas (15-7), Tulsa (15-7), Arkansas (10-13), Springfield (8-13).
Texas League South: Frisco (16-7), Midland (12-11), San Antonio (9-14), Corpus Christi (5-18).
Average: Bronson Sardinha (.316). Hits: Jason Van Kooten (68). Doubles: Daniel Mayora (21). Triples: Anthony Jackson (4). Homeruns: Wilin Rosario (14). RBI: Jason Van Kooten (41).
Wins: Bruce Billings, Keith Weiser (7). ERA: Scott Rice (0.96). Saves: Stuart Pomeranz (10). Strikeouts: Cory Riordan (90).
Tickets are available for all upcoming Drillers games are available at the ONEOK Field box office, by calling 744-5901 or online at Tulsadrillers.com.