Drillers Sweep Doubleheader Against Arkansas
GAME 1 RECAP
On a Drillers pitching staff loaded with talent, including the Colorado Rockies' 2011, 2012 and 2013 first-round draft picks, Dan Winkler entered the season somewhat under the radar, despite being named the California League Pitcher of the Year in 2013. However, the University of Central Florida product's results in four starts this season are demanding attention. Winkler was awarded the win as the Drillers took the first game of a doubleheader against the Arkansas Travelers Tuesday afternoon by a final score of 2-0.
Winkler threw his best game of the season in the first of a doubleheader against the Arkansas Travelers Tuesday afternoon, which is saying a lot for a pitcher who entered the game with 1.06 ERA and 17 strikeouts in 3 starts.
The right-hander pitched a one-hit complete game shutout, striking out 10 batters over 7 innings. The game, which was rescheduled as the first of a doubleheader after being postponed Monday night due to rain, was shortened to seven innings, as was the second game of the doubleheader, a standard protocol in the Texas League.
Winkler only allowed two base runners in the dominant performance, giving up a walk along with the one hit. He now bolsters a 2-1 record with a miniscule 0.75 ERA and 27 strikeouts in 24 innings stretched over 4 starts.
The only scoring in the game came in the top of the third. Taylor Featherston led off the inning with a hard hit grounder to left field for a single, extending his hitting streak to 12 games. Christhian Adames would be hit by the next pitch while attempting to lay down a sacrifice bunt, putting runners on first and second.
After Tom Murphy's groundout moved the runners to second and third and Ryan Casteel followed with an infield pop-up, Tim Smalling drew a walk to load the bases. Harold Riggins, who leads the team in strikeouts, then showed discipline at the plate by drawing an RBI bases-loaded walk. In the next at-bat, Jayson Langfels hit a chopping grounder to third and was able to beat out the throw, giving the Drillers a 2-0 lead on an infield single.
Arkansas starter Michael Roth, somewhat overshadowed by Winkler's performance, otherwise threw a solid game, going six innings and only allowing two runs and three hits.
Leadoff man Featherston accounted for three of the four Tulsa hits, with Jayson Langfels adding the other.
The shortened game was quite the pitcher's duel, with a combined total of five hits.
GAME 2 RECAP
The second game of the doubleheader was even more of a pitcher's duel, as the Drillers took a 1-0 game from the Arkansas Travelers in extra innings.
Carlos Hernandez, who got a spot-start because of the doubleheader, pitched a clean 3.1 scoreless innings, allowing 3 hits and 2 walks while striking out 4. Hernandez was impressive, especially in the third inning, when he was able to battle out of a jam in which Arkansas runners were on the corners with no outs.
Ken Roberts, who relieved Hernandez in the fourth inning, was equally effective, pitching a perfect 2.2 innings with 1 strikeout. Ryan Arrowood followed suit, going three scoreless innings and only allowing one walk along the way. Kraig Sitton pitched a scoreless 10th and Scott Oberg held Arkansas at bay in the 11th to earn his 4th save of the year.
The Drillers were finally able to break the tie in the top of the 11th. Tyler Massey singled after a Joey Wong groundout. Featherston would follow with a base knock two batters later, notching his first hit in the game and just barely extending his hitting streak to 13 games. Adames would then single on a grounder through the middle to center field, scoring Massey, which would prove to be the only run of the game.
Arkansas starter and Broken Arrow native Drew Rucinski threw six scoreless innings of two-hit ball in his start against the Drillers. At one point, Travelers pitching retired 22 straight Drillers batters.
Drillers pitchers hurled back-to-back shutouts in 18 innings of work in the doubleheader Tuesday. The two victories quickly brought the Drillers record back to .500 at 9-9, and the Drillers have won 3 straight for the first time this season.
After over six straight hours of baseball Tuesday, the Drillers have a quick turnaround for the third game of the series, which will take place fewer than 13 hours after the conclusion of Tuesday's doubleheader. Jon Gray will get his fourth start of the season, while the Arkansas starter has yet to be determined. First pitch is scheduled for 11:00 AM.??