Something had to give with Friday night's doubleheader between Tulsa and Arkansas. The Drillers entered the twin-bill with a three-game winning streak while the Travelers had won six straight games. When the evening was complete, it was the Drillers who owned a five-game streak as they swept the two games with a pair of come-from-behind victories, winning the first game 6-5 and the nightcap 6-1.
The sweep left the two teams tied atop the North Division of the Texas League standings with identical 14-14 records. The Drillers five-game winning streak is their second longest of the season, one short of their six-game run from May 30 through June 5.
Paid attendance at the doubleheader totaled 8,399. It marked the 14th sellout of the year, tying the record for most in a season at ONEOK Field, set in 2013.
It was not the only off-field news the Drillers generated. After the game, manager Kevin Riggs announced that infielder Cristhian Adames was being promoted to Triple-A Colorado Springs. Adames has spent the past two seasons in Tulsa, earning Texas League All-Star honors both years.
In the first game, the Drillers spotted Arkansas an early four-run lead, but they were able to stage a comeback even though the game was limited to just seven innings.
The Travs jumped to their lead with a big four-run third inning. The inning began with four straight hits off Tulsa starter R.J. Seidel, including a run-scoring single by Brian Hernandez and a run-scoring double by Mike Bianucci. Hernandez scored the third run on an infield ground out, and Bianucci came home on a wild pitch to cap the big inning.
Tulsa got on the board with a run in the fourth when Cristhian Adames reached on an error and scored on a double by Trevor Story.
The Drillers completely erased their deficit with a two-out, five-run rally in the fifth inning. Singles by Tyler Massey and Delta Cleary Jr. put runners at the corners with one out. Cristhian Adames lined into the second out, but Taylor Featherston kept the inning alive with a base hit that scored Massey to make the score 4-2.
After a walk to Story loaded the bases, Jayson Langfels tied the game with a lined single into left field that plated both Cleary Jr. and Featherston. Jared Simon followed with another two-run single to put the Drillers in front 6-4.
The Travelers cut the margin to a single run in the top of the sixth. Matt Long drew a leadoff walk from reliever Kraig Sitton and scored on a two-out double by Drew Heid.
Arkansas threatened again in the seventh and final inning against Tulsa closer Cole White. Maikol Gonzalez drew a walk to open the inning, and with one out, moved into scoring position by stealing second base. White escaped the threat by getting a pair of ground outs from Hernandez and Bianucci that ended the game.
Reliever Josh Mueller worked a scoreless fifth inning to pick up the win. It was Mueller's first win since undergoing Tommy John surgery last summer.
In game two, the Travelers again jumped to an early lead. In the top of the second inning, Matt Long led off with a double against Tulsa starter Ryan Kulik. Long eventually scored on a sacrifice fly from catcher Anderson De La Rosa to give the Travs a 1-0 lead.
Arkansas starting pitcher Nate Long held the Drillers scoreless through the first three innings before suffering from an unlikely control issue. After Featherston led off with a double, Long walked Story. Brian Humphries was unsuccessful on a sacrifice bunt attempt, but Simon drew another walk to load the bases.
Newcomer Will Swanner lined a base hit into centerfield that scored Featherston to tie the game at 1-1. Long retired Joey Wong on an infield pop-up for the second out, but the lefthander then issued consecutive walks to Jose Gonzalez and Massey to force home two runs and give Tulsa a 3-1 lead.
The Drillers put the game away with a three-run sixth. Swanner led off with a single and moved to third on another hit by Gonzalez. Massey followed with a base hit that scored Swanner. Jose Rivera, in only his second game back since missing over three weeks with a hamstring injury, then split the gap in left-center field for a two-run double that increased the Drillers lead to 6-1.
Kulik was outstanding. The Drillers lefthander worked the first five innings, surrendering only the one run on four hits and three walks. The win improved his record to 1-3.
Ken Roberts collected his first save of the season with two scoreless relief innings.
Massey and Featherston paced the offensive attack for Tulsa in its sweep, each totaling four hits in the doubleheader. Featherston's big night included three consecutive doubles in his first three at-bats of the second game.
The two teams will play the third game of their four-game seriesSaturday night at ONEOK Field. Tyler Anderson (3-4, 2.59 ERA) is scheduled to pitch for the Drillers against Orangel Arenas (5-6, 3.72 ERA) of the Travelers. It is a Tulsa's Channel 8 Grand SlamSaturday with post-game Fireworks, and the Drillers will also pay tribute to former coach Mike Coolbaugh. First pitch is slated for7:05PM.