Drillers Sell Out For Third Straight Game In Losing Effort
Two trends continued Friday night for the Tulsa Drillers, one good and one bad. For the third consecutive game, a sellout crowd filled ONEOK Field, but for the third consecutive game, the Drillers lost. Tulsa was unable to hold a late two-run lead as San Antonio scored four times in the eighth inning and completed a three-game sweep of the Drillers with a 4-3 comeback victory.
The game's official attendance was 8,145, marking the first time in the 37-year history of the Drillers franchise that three consecutive games in Tulsa have sold out. It was also the 12th sellout at ONEOK Field this season, matching the record total set during the inaugural year of the downtown stadium.
On the field, the three runs from the Drillers were their most in the three games with the Missions. Their six hits were one more than they had produced in the previous two games combined.
For most of the night, the output looked like it would be enough to produce a victory as starting pitcher Christian Bergman was outstanding. Bergman blanked the Missions on six hit through seven innings and had a season high seven strikeouts.
Bergman's teammates gave him the lead with a run in the fourth inning.
It was Tulsa's first lead in the series. Kyle Parker led off with a double and Angelys Nina drew a walk. After catcher Dallas Tarleton moved the runners to second and third with a sacrifice bunt, Jayson Langfels sliced a drive deep into the right field corner that deflected off the glove Yeison Asencio. The result was a double for Langfels, but only Parker was able to score on the play as Nina initially held at second base before seeing the ball drop.
With runners still at second and third, Jaron Shepherd popped out and Delta Cleary Jr. grounded out to end the threat and keep Tulsa's lead at only 1-0.
It remained a one-run game until the Drillers were able to add an insurance run in the bottom of the seventh inning. Langfels led off with his second double of the night and advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt from Shepherd. Cleary Jr. followed with a sacrifice fly that made it 2-0.
The lead promptly vanished in the top of the eighth. The Missions entered the inning with only six hits, but they nearly doubled their total in a big four-run outburst. The rally began with a leadoff home run from Johan Limonta that ended Bergman's shutout. Two pitches later, Rico Noel's RBI single ended Bergman's night.
Dan Houston was summoned from the bullpen and Reymond Fuentes greeted the reliever with another base hit that put runners at the corners. Tommy Medica lined to shortstop for the first out of the inning, but the Missions tied the game when Asencio lined a single into centerfield, then took the lead on a double by catcher Rocky Gale.
With Jeudy Valdez at the plate, a wild pitch from Houston allowed Asencio to race home and give San Antonio a 4-2 lead. Tulsa manag er Kevin Riggs ran out to argue the call at the plate, and was quickly ejected by home plate umpire Ramon Hernandez. The long inning finally came to an end when Valdez flied out to Cleary Jr. in centerfield.
Tyler Kuhn cut the deficit to only one run with his first homer in a Drillers uniform leading off the bottom of the eighth. Tulsa made a bid to score more, putting runners at first and second with two outs, but Langfels grounded out to end the threat.
San Antonio closer Matt Stites set the Drillers down in order in the bottom of the ninth to end the contest and collect his tenth save of the year.
Tulsa will begin a three-game series with Corpus Christi Saturday night at ONEOK Field. Tyler Matzek (4-6, 3.79 ERA) will take the mound for the Drillers in the opener. The Hooks will counter with Texas League wins leader David Martinez (10-2, 2.02 ERA). Starting time in downtown Tulsa is slated for 7:05PM.