Drillers Bounce Back With Impressive Road Win
The Northwest Arkansas Naturals seemed to have picked up right where they left off Saturday night when leadoff man Brett Eibner homered off Christian Bergman in the first inning of Sunday afternoon's game in Springdale.
Luckily for Tulsa, Bergman just needed a few extra pitches to warm-up.
After giving up the leadoff home run, the right-hander held Northwest Arkansas scoreless through seven innings, allowing just five hits and striking out three to help lead the Drillers to a 7-1 victory over the Naturals at Arvest Ballpark.
Bergman, the 2012 California League Pitcher of the Year, notched his third win of the season Sunday, while lowering his ERA to 3.02.
The Drillers improved to 19-23 on the year with the victory.
Drillers' catcher Jose Gonzalez answered Eibner's first inning homer with a two-run bomb of his own in the second. After two quick outs to begin the inning, Jayson Langfels singled to center field. Gonzalez then followed with his third long ball of the season, a high drive that bounced off the top of the wall in left, to put the Drillers on top 2-1.
Tulsa tacked on additional runs in the third and fifth innings. In the third, Kent Matthes lined a two-out double to left, scoring Kiel Roling from first. Roling reached via walk earlier in the inning.
In the fifth, an error by Angel Franco proved costly for Northwest Arkansas. After Kyle Parker reached on a wild throw by the third baseman, back-to-back singles by Matthes and Angelys Nina scored Parker to give the Drillers a three-run lead.
The Drillers increased their lead to six in the sixth. Cristhian Adames led off the inning with a double that just missed clearing the wall in left field. Reliever Nick Rogers then hit Rafael Ortega, putting runners on the corners with none out.
With Delta Cleary Jr. batting, Ortega broke for second, drawing a throw from catcher Mitch Canham. Unfortunately for the catcher, the ball sailed high of second base and into center field, allowing Adames to score and Ortega to advance to third.
Cleary Jr. was then hit by Rogers and stole second base to put both runners in scoring position. After Roling and Parker failed to deliver on the RBI opportunity, Matthes came through with his third hit of the day, a soft liner to center to score both Ortega and Cleary Jr. and make it 7-1.
In addition to Matthes' productive day (3-5 with a double and 3 RBI), Adames' performed well at the plate, going 2-3 with two doubles.
The Drillers return to Springdale Monday looking for their first series victory in the month of May. First pitch is scheduled for 11:00AM. Dan Houston (0-4, 4.71 ERA) takes the hill for Tulsa, while Northwest Arkansas will send out Sugar Ray Marimon (2-5, 5.49 ERA).