It took the Tulsa Drillers four games, but they were finally able to get to Northwest Arkansas's pitching early in Springdale. In Sunday's series finale, the Drillers touched Northwest for three runs in the second and never looked back, downing the Naturals 8-2 at Arvest Ballpark to earn a series split.
Cristhian Adames, Henry Wrigley and Dustin Garneau all turned in multi-hit performances to lead a balanced attack for the Drillers. Adames went 2-3 with three runs batted in, Wrigley doubled twice in four trips, and Garneau went 2-5 with a double and two runs scored.
Garneau keyed the Drillers scoring attack in the second with his two-out single to plate Wrigley who reached base on a walk. On the play, the throw home from Naturals left fielder Roman Hernandez's bounded away from the catcher, allowing Kyle Parker and Garneau to move into scoring position. Adames promptly took advantage of the situation and recorded his first two RBI of the season with a single through the infield to put Tulsa up 3-0.
The Naturals responded with a run in the bottom half of the second to close the gap. Right fielder White Merrifield singled with one out in the inning. He then advanced to second on a wild pitch, stole third, and scored on Juan Graterol's single to center.
In the third inning, the Drillers added to their lead when Wrigley followed Kent Matthes' double with one of his own to plate the right fielder. In the fourth, three consecutive two-out walks issued by Northwest Arkansas starter Noel Arguelles pushed Garneau across to score making it 5-1.
After Northwest Arkansas cut into Tulsa's lead with a run in the fifth, second baseman Joey Wong singled home Adames in the top of the sixth to run Tulsa's lead back up to four.
Adames finished off his solid day at the plate with an RBI double in the eighth. Tulsa would tack on one more in the inning to bring the final score to 8-2.
Garneau, Tulsa's catcher, had a great series, going 5-9 with a home run and two doubles in Springdale. The California native desperately needed such as performance, as he entered the series batting .050. He was able to raise his batting average more than 150 points to .207 over the weekend.
Tulsa starter Dan Houston allowed one run on five hits in his fourth start of the season, but threw 86 pitches in just four innings, forcing his early exit. This opened the door for reliever Joe Gardner to come in and pick up his third win of the season. Gardner allowed one unearned run in three innings of quality relief.
The Drillers return home Monday to take on the Arkansas Travelers at ONEOK Field. It will be the first meeting between the two North Division clubs this season. The game will kickoff a long homestand for the Drillers in which they will host eight games in as many days.
Right-hander Christian Bergman will take the mound for his fourth start of the season against the Travelers. Bergman has been outstanding so far this year, allowing just one earned run in 16.2 innings pitched, while recording 16 strikeouts. Arkansas's starting pitcher is still undecided.
Starting time for Monday's game is scheduled for 7:05PM. Fans who are not able to make it out to ONEOK Field can still listen to the game live on AM1430, The Buzz in Tulsa. The broadcast is also available at TulsaDrillers.com, or through the I Heart Radio app or website.