Drillers fall to Travs in 10 innings
LITTLE ROCK (KFAQ) - Tulsa's three-game winning streak came to an end Saturday night in North Little Rock, but it did not end without a fight from the Drillers. After spotting Arkansas an early four-run lead, Tulsa eventually rallied to force extra frames. But any momentum was washed away with a 29-minute rain delay that followed the ninth inning, as the Travelers pushed across a run in the tenth for a 6-5 win.
Despite the defeat, the Drillers have won two of the first three games in Arkansas. They will go for a series win in the finale Sunday night in central Arkansas.
Tulsa fell into an early hole in Saturday's loss as the Travelers plated four runs in the first inning against starting pitcher Chad Bettis. The Travs opened the inning with four straight hits.
Randal Grichuk led off with a double and scored the game's first run when Taylor Lindsey followed with base hit. Robbie Widlansky then delivered his sixth home run of the season to put the Arkansas in front 3-0.
C.J. Cron followed with another base hit. After Kaleb Cowart grounded out, Travis Witherspoon capped the four-run inning with a base hit that scored Cron.
The Drillers slowly crept back into the game. Their first run came in the second inning when Kyle Parker led off with a double against ex-Driller Brandon Hynick. He eventually scored on a ground out by Angelys Nina.
They added another run in the fourth as Joey Wong led off with a base hit and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Cristhian Adames. Wong scored on a two-out single by Tyler Kuhn to cut the Travs' lead to 4-2.
Tulsa cut its deficit to one with a run in the top of the seventh against reliever Mike Morin. Nina led off with a base hit and advanced into scoring position when Dallas Tarleton executed another sacrifice bunt. Tim Smalling grounded out, but Delta Cleary Jr. grounded a base hit into center field that scored Nina.
Arkansas got the run back with a two-out rally off Josh Mueller in the bottom half of the seventh. Mueller retired the first two hitters of the inning before issuing consecutive walks to Ryan Jones and Carlos Ramirez. Rolando Gomez followed with a base hit that scored Jones to give the Travs a 5-3 cushion.
The Drillers finally pulled even with a two-run rally in the ninth inning. Tarleton led off with a base hit and moved to second on a ground out from Smalling. Pinch-hitter Kiel Roling made a bid to tie the game with a deep fly to right, but Jones caught the drive just in front of the four-foot tall, outfield fence.
Jaron Shepherd kept the inning alive, beating out an infield hit. With runners at first and third, Wong delivered his third hit of the game with a grounder into left field that pulled the Drillers to within one.
Adames then hit a liner that deflected off pitcher Kevin Johnson. The ball rolled to second baseman Lindsey who fielded it and threw late to first. Shepherd never slowed down as he rounded third and scored the run that tied the game at 5-5.
Isaiah Froneberger and Joe Gardner combined to work a scoreless ninth, but then a thunderstorm hit Dickey Stephens Park.
Following the 29-minute delay, Tulsa went down in order in the top of the tenth, setting the stage for the Travs game winner.
Gomez led off with a base hit against Gardner and moved into scoring position on a sacrifice from Grichuk. Lindsey followed with a liner into right-center field that plated Gomez with the winning run.
After combining for only 5 hits the previous game, the Drillers and Travelers combined for 27 Saturday. In addition to Wong's three hits, Adames, Kuhn and Nina added two each for Tulsa.
Lindsey's three hits led the Travs.
The loss for Gardner dropped his record to 3-3.
NOTE: Prior to the game, Tulsa reliever Mitchell Boggs was promoted to the majors by the Colorado Rockies. Late Saturday, Boggs made a successful return to the big leagues with a scoreless inning against the Cubs. The Drillers activated Mueller to fill the roster spot.