Drillers drop series opener in Midland
TULSA (KFAQ) - Last week, the Tulsa Drillers scored 27 runs over a three-game series to sweep the Midland RockHounds at ONEOK Field. On Tuesday, Midland found some retribution back at home in West Texas. The RockHounds surged ahead in the series opener, scoring eight runs in the first five frames, before foiling a late charge from Kyle Parker and the Drillers to secure an 8-6 victory at Citibank Ballpark.
Tulsa, which entered the game as one of three teams tied atop the North Division, falls to 26-25 in the second half (60-59 overall) with the loss.
Parker finished 4-5 on the night with a double and two RBI to become only the fourth Driller this season to record four hits in a game. The left fielder has been on a tear over the last few weeks as he has increased his batting average 15 points to .286 since July 26.
Furthermore, two Drillers batters increased their hitting streaks. Tyler Kuhn went 2-3 with an RBI and three runs scored to push his streak out to eight games, while Cristhian Adames' two-run single in the sixth gives him a hit in ten straight games.
Tim Gustafson's RockHounds woes, meanwhile, continued on Tuesday as he surrendered all eight runs on nine hits in 4 1/3 innings to suffer his second loss in four starts against the club this season.
The RockHounds recorded four straight hits and a sacrifice fly off of Gustafson in the first to jump out to a 3-0 lead. Josh Whitaker and Dusty Coleman each had RBI singles in the frame before Chad Oberaker plated Whitaker with a one-out sacrifice fly to give Midland a three-run advantage.
After Midland tacked on another run in the second, Parker singled home Kuhn in the third to put the Drillers on the board. The Hounds came back with two more runs in the home half to extend their lead out to five. Whitaker began the inning with his third Double-A homer of the season. After Coleman struck out, Oberacker tripled right and scored when Vinnie Catricala followed with a sacrifice fly to left.
A similar scenario played out in the fifth.
With the bases loaded and two outs in the top half of the inning, RockHounds reliever Brett Hunter hit Dustin Garneau to score Kuhn from third. But once again, Midland responded with two runs in the bottom half to stretch its lead out to 8-2. Coleman ripped a one-out RBI double to left for the first run of the inning and scored a batter later on a single by Catricala.
The Drillers rallied for three runs in the sixth to get back into the ballgame. With two on and two out, Cristhian Adames lined a two-run single into right field, cutting the Hounds' lead in half. After moving to second on a wild pitch, Adames scored when Parker lined his fourth hit of the game into left to make it 8-5.
Tulsa scored once more in the eighth on an RBI single by Kuhn to make it 8-6, but would come no closer.
In addition to Parker and Kuhn's solid performances, Angelys Nina and Jayson Langfels each recorded two-hit games for the Drillers. Kiel Roling on the other hand saw his eight-game hitting streak come to an end as he finished 0-4 with two strikeouts.
The Drillers and RockHounds will back at Citibank Ballpark Wednesday for game two of their three-game series. Tulsa's Christian Bergman (7-7, 3.28 ERA), who defeated Midland last Thursday, will take the mound against Murphy Smith (8-8, 3.77 ERA). First pitch is scheduled for 6:30PM.