The Tulsa Drillers were looking for their first series sweep of the season Saturday night at ONEOK Field in the third and final game of their series with the San Antonio Missions. In Tulsa's victories in the first two games, Drillers pitchers surrendered a total of just three runs, but in the finale, the Missions wasted little time in topping that total. San Antonio exploded for seven runs in the top of the third inning and cruised to a 13-2 victory.
The loss dropped the Drillers season record to 3-6. They will continue their current homestand Sunday afternoon with the first game of a three-game set with Corpus Christi.
In Saturday's loss, Tulsa starting pitcher Tim Gustafson needed only 11 pitches to work a scoreless first inning before the Missions' bats came alive in the second frame. Jake Blackwood opened the inning with a base hit and eventually scored on another hit by Chris Bisson.
San Antonio put the Drillers in a deep hole with a seven-run third inning. Gustafson sandwiched a pair of walks in between a fly out and a strikeout, but the third out would prove to be elusive. After a double steal, Blackwood became the first of seven straight batters to reach base safely when he produced a two-run single.
Catcher Eddy Rodriguez increased the lead to 4-0 with a base hit that scored Blackwood. After Adam Buschini doubled, Gustafson intentionally walked Bisson to load the bases for San Antonio pitcher Matt Andriese. The strategy failed to produce the desired results as Andriese lined a single into centerfield that plated two more runs.
Cory Riordan replaced Gustafson and was greeted by a two-run double from Reymond Fuentes that made it 8-0. After Riordan hit Rico Noel with a pitch, the long inning finally ended when Justin Miller grounded out.
The Drillers cut into the margin with a two-out rally in the fourth. Henry Wrigley ended the shutout with his first home run of the season. Last season, Wrigley hit a combined 20 home runs at Triple A Durham and Double A Montgomery.
Kyle Parker followed the homer with a base hit to center. Angelys Nina then hit a slicing liner that skipped by a diving Fuentes in right field. By the time the ball was retrieved, Nina had a triple and Tulsa had its second run of the inning.
It was as close as the Drillers would get as the Missions big offensive night would continue with a two-run sixth inning and a three-run seventh.
The Missions totaled 15 hits and set a ONEOK Field record with 6 stolen bases in the contest. Tulsa pitchers issued 7 walks.
The Drillers were limited to only five hits and committed three errors, while San Antonio's pitchers set down the final 16 batters in order to end the game.
In Sunday's series opener with the Hooks, the pitching matchup will have Tyler Matzek (0-0, 4.50 ERA) going for Tulsa against Nick Tropeano (0-1, 1.00) of Corpus Christi. It will be the first afternoon game of the season at ONEOK Field with first pitch scheduled for 2:05PM.
Fans that cannot make it to the game can still follow the action on live on AM1430, The Buzz in Tulsa. The broadcast will also be available on TulsaDrillers.com, or through the I Heart Radio app or website.
NOTES: The Drillers announced a roster move just prior to Saturday's game. Pitcher Steven Hensley was activated and infielder Brett Tanos was placed on the inactive list. Hensley was recently acquired by the Colorado Rockies in the trade that sent pitcher Aaron Harang to Seattle. . .Saturday's paid attendance was 7,214. Through the first three games at ONEOK Field the season, attendance has totaled 22,677 for an average of 7,559 per game.