Travelers Handle Drillers To Open Series

The Arkansas Travelers had a serious disruption just prior to Friday's game with the Tulsa Drillers at ONEOK Field, but it had little impact on their performance. Less than a half hour before first pitch, the Travelers received word that pitchers John Hellweg and Ariel Pena had been traded by the Los Angeles Angels as part of the Zack Greinke trade. The Travs were able to put aside the disruption and beat the Drillers 5-2 behind a strong outing from starting pitcher Matt Oye.

Tulsa starting pitcher Josh Outman was victimized by a two-out error in the top of the first inning that helped give Arkansas an early lead. After Outman retired the first two batters of the game, Paul McAnulty appeared to hit an inning-ending grounder but first baseman Ben Paulsen misplayed the ball. The error proved costly when Roberto Lopez followed with his 8th home run of the season to give the Travelers an early 2-0 lead.

They doubled the margin with two more runs in the fourth. After Brian Hernandez and Ryan Mount opened the inning with consecutive singles, Jimmy Swift advanced both runners into scoring position with a sacrifice bunt.

Outman again got within one out of ending the inning when Alberto Rosario hit a chopper back to the mound and Hernandez was thrown out at the plate trying to score. But, just like in the first inning, a big two-out hit produced a pair of runs as Darwin Perez grounded a double just inside the first base bag that scored both Mount and Rosario to give Arkansas a 4-0 lead.

The Drillers finally got on the board with a pair of runs in the bottom of the seventh to cut the margin in half. With one out, Kent Matthes singled and Jimmy Cesario doubled. Matthes came home with Tulsa's first run when right fielder Lopez fielded Cesario's hit and threw wildly back to the infield.

After Mike Zuanich struck out, catcher Jose Gonzalez produced a run-scoring hit to pull Tulsa to within 4-2.

It took the Travelers only two pitches to get one of the runs back. In the top of the eighth inning, McAnulty took a ball from reliever Joe Torres before depositing the next offering into the terrace section in left field to up the lead to 5-2.

The Drillers missed a chance to get closer in the eighth inning against Travs' reliever Ryan Chaffee. With two outs and the bases empty, Nolan Arenado grounded a single up the middle and Ben Paulsen followed with a deep, opposite field drive down the left field line. The ball landed on the warning track and bounced over the fence for a ground-rule double. Chaffee escaped the jam by getting Matthes on a ground out to end the inning.

The loss for Outman dropped his record to 1-3. The lefthander worked 5 1/3 innings, allowing seven hits and four runs, but only two were earned. He walked two batters and struck out five.

The victory for Oye improved his record to 4-5. He pitched seven innings, allowing the two runs on five hits while striking out eight.

Kevin Johnson worked a scoreless ninth inning to record his 13th save, five of which have come against Tulsa.

The two teams will play the second game of their series Saturday night at ONEOK Field. Dan Houston (8-8, 3.40 ERA) will pitch for the Drillers against A.J. Schugel (5-7, 2.95 ERA) of the Travelers. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05PM in downtown Tulsa.