Another week has gone by, and the Tulsa Drillers are a step closer to the Texas League playoffs. The Drillers finished the week with a record of 4-3, including two wins against the Northwest Arkansas Naturals who the Drillers are battling for first place in the Texas League North. By the end of the week Tulsa had perched itself back atop the standings, as they are currently in a first place tie with the Naturals.
An upcoming three-game road swing through Northwest Arkansas could help put Tulsa into sole possession of first place.
Monday, July 26: Travelers 9, Drillers 2 –Tyler Chatwood, who pitched a complete-game shutout the last time he faced Tulsa, downed the Drillers once again. Chatwood pitched a solid seven innings for Arkansas, allowing two runs off of seven hits while striking out three. Greg Reynolds picked up his fourth loss of the season for the Drillers.
Tulsa struck first when Matt Repec drove in Michael Mitchell on a line drive to left field. Arkansas, however, answered back with six unanswered runs to put the game out of reach.
Tuesday, July 27: Drillers 7, Naturals 6 – Eric Hosmer put Northwest Arkansas ahead 6-5 with a three-run homer in the eighth inning, but Tulsa would rally to pull within a half game of the North division standings. Wilin Rosario drove home Warren Schaeffer from third with a single to left field to tie the game. With the bases loaded, Bronson Sardinha drew a walk that brought home Anthony Jackson for the win.
Chris Malone was credited for the win, as he allowed just one hit through one and one-third innings. Starter Brandon Durden lasted seven innings, but was roughed up for eight hits and four runs. Jason Van Kooten and Chalres Blackmon had homered for the Drillers in the first and seventh innings, respectively.
Wednesday, July 28: Naturals 5, Drillers 3 – A pair of seventh-inning runs from the Naturals broke a 3-3 tie, negating a three-run homer from Rosario in the first inning and moving Northwest Arkansas a game and a half ahead of Tulsa in the standings. Ching Lung Lo, who gave up the two runs in the seventh, was saddled with the loss for the Drillers.
Thursday, July 29: Drillers 5, Naturals 3 – Tulsa plated five runs in the first inning and never looked back as they went on to beat Northwest Arkansas and move within a half game of the division lead. Sardinha got things started for the Drillers, with a homer that sailed over the right field fence and drive in Jackson.
Later in the inning, with the bases loaded, Schaeffer drew a walk that brought in Jeff kindel to make the score 3-0. Radames Nazario finished the scoring on a single to center field that drove in Scott Beerer and Lars Davis. Cory Riordan picked up his sixth win of the year, lasting seven innings while allowing five hits, three runs and striking out eight.
Friday, July 30: Drillers 3, Travelers 1 – For the second night in a row, Tulsa got on the board first and held on to claim a win. The Drillers went on top 1-0 on a Sardinha homerun in the first inning. Beerer added to the lead in the second inning when a sacrifice fly to center field brought home Van Kooten from third.
Both starting pitchers lasted seven innings, as Keith Weiser got his team-leading eighth win of the season. Weiser allowed one run on seven hits while striking out two. His counterpart from Arkansas, Ryan Brasier, allowed three runs on six hits and struck out four.
Saturday, July 31: Drillers 7, Travelers 3 – The Drillers picked up their third win in a row thanks in large part to a four-run sixth inning. Arkansas staked a 3-1 lead heading into the sixth before Tulsa’s bats came to life. Van Kooten started the rally when he doubled on a line drive into left field that drove in Blackmon.
Davis later grounded into a force out, but not before Van Kooten managed to score to tie the game. Mitchell then drove in Sardinha on a single to left field to wrap up the scoring for the inning. The Drillers went on to add two more insurance runs to take over the North Division lead.
Sunday, August 1: Travelers 4, Drillers 1 -Tulsa once again jumped on the board first, but Arkansas struck late to snatch the game. Beerer provided the only RBI of the night for the Drillers when he drove a sacrifice fly to right field that brought home Blackmon. Arkansas answered to tie the game in the fourth inning on an RBI-single from Nick Gorneault.
From there the two squads struggled through three scoreless innings. Arkansas finally broke the drought in the eighth inning with three runs. Mitchell advanced to third base in the top of the ninth before Nazario popped out to the pitcher for the final out.
THE WEEK AHEAD
The Drillers finish up their current road trip at Arkansas Monday before battling with Northwest Arkansas for first place in the Texas League North beginning on Tuesday. The three-game series wraps up on Thursday and the Drillers return home for a four-game series with Springfield beginning on Friday.
Monday, August 2 @ Arkansas; Tuesday, August 3 @ Northwest Arkansas; Wednesday, August 4 @ Northwest Arkansas; Thursday, August 5 @ Northwest Arkansas; Friday, August 6 vs. Springfield (Fireworks Friday presented by Z104.5 The Edge / FRITOS Family Friday presented by Fritos); Saturday, August 7 vs. Springfield (OU-OSU Rivalry night presented by 106.9 KHITS, Strike out hunger presented by The News on 6); Sunday, August 8 vs. Springfield (TTCU Family FUNday Sunday presented by TTCU The Credit Union, Back to school backpack giveaway presented by KTUL – News Channel 8, Kids eat free); Monday, August 9 vs. Springfield (Girls night out presented by Indigo Spa and Salon, Belk).
Texas League North: Northwest Arkansas (22-14), Tulsa (22-14), Springfield (18-18), Arkansas (14-22).
Texas League South: Midland (20-16), Frisco (19-17), San Antonio (16-20), Corpus Christi (13-23).
Average: Bronson Sardinha (.324). Hits: Jason Van Kooten (79). Doubles: Jason Van Kooten (22). Triples: Anthony Jackson, Jason Van Kooten (4). Homeruns: Wilin Rosario (19). RBI: Wilin Rosario (52).
Wins: Keith Weiser (8). ERA: Scott Rice (0.96). Saves: Stu Pomeranz (12). Strikeouts: Cory Riordan (99).
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.