Despite being one of the Tulsa Drillers' top pitchers all season, Christian Bergman entered his most recent start against the Northwest Arkansas Naturals coming off two rough starts in which he allowed 11 earned runs. The right-hander bounced back in a big way on Friday night, throwing a complete-game shutout to lead Tulsa to a 5-0 victory on the road in Springdale.
Bergman, who leads the Drillers in strikeouts, WHIP, and innings pitched this season, limited the Naturals to just three hits to notch his sixth victory of the year. The California native struck out six and walked three to record Tulsa's first complete-game shutout since Dan Houston accomplished the feat on July 29, 2011.
Tulsa improves to 19-23 in the second half and 53-57 overall on the season with the win.
The Drillers, who have now gone 36-10 when scoring first this season, jumped ahead in the top of the first on a one-out solo home run by Cristhian Adames. The homer was the shortstop Adames' third of the year.
Tulsa added another run in the third thanks to some sloppy defensive play by Northwest Arkansas. Delta Cleary Jr. reached on an error by second baseman Angel Franco to leadoff the inning, and advanced all the way to third on a sacrifice bunt by Adames. After another error allowed Kyle Parker to reach first, Kiel Roling drove in Cleary Jr. with a sacrifice fly to make it 2-0
Tyler Kuhn stretched Tulsa's advantage out to three with a two-out RBI single in the fourth. Angelys Nina led off the inning with his fifth triple and scored two batters later when Kuhn bounced a ball through the middle for his 11th RBI of the season.
Kyle Parker made it 4-0 Drillers with a solo home run in the top of the fifth. Parker, the Colorado Rockies' #10 overall prospect according to MLB.com, now has 19 long balls on the year.
The Drillers added one more run in the eight for good measure. Nina led off the inning with a single to right. The second baseman then stole second and went to third when catcher Juan Graterol's throw went into center field. After Joey Wong lined out to second, Tim Smalling squeezed Nina home to bring the score to 5-0.
Nina finished the game 3-4 with two runs scored, while Kuhn went 3-4 with an RBI. Parker and Wong both added two hits apiece in the win.
The Drillers and Naturals return to Arvest Ballpark Saturday night for the third game of their four-game series. Tyler Matzek (7-7, 3.10 ERA) will toe the rubber for Tulsa, looking for his fourth win in the last five games, while Northwest Arkansas has yet to announce its starter. First pitch is scheduled for 7:00PM.