For the second time in three days, a top Colorado Rockies pitching prospect turned in an impressive outing at ONEOK Field. Tyler Matzek worked five strong innings Friday night to record his first Double A victory as Tulsa defeated Northwest Arkansas 6-1. The outing came just two days after Chad Bettis struck out 11 to pick up his first Double A win.
Matzek allowed only three hits and one run while striking out six Naturals hitters. More importantly, the left-hander, who has struggled with his command at times throughout his career, issued just one walk in Friday's contest. The five innings marked the left-hander's longest outing of the season, his strikeout total matched a season high and the walks were a season low. The outing lowered his season earned run average to 2.95
Matzek departed the game with a 3-1 lead in the fifth, and the Tulsa bullpen made sure the lead held. Joe Gardner, after having a rough outing the previous night, did not allow a hit in three shutout innings of relief, and Mike Solbach struck out two in a 1-2-3 ninth inning to close out the victory.
The trio of Tulsa hurlers combined to limit Northwest Arkansas to just three hits in the game.
The run against Matzek came early as Northwest Arkansas opened the scoring in the second inning courtesy of Yem Prades. The centerfielder led off with his second home run of the season to give the Naturals a 1-0 lead.
The lead was short-lived as the Drillers answered in the bottom of the second. With two outs and the bases empty, Kiel Roling doubled off Naturals starter Noel Arguelles. Jayson Langfels followed with a sharp single just inside the third base bag that plated Roling to tie the game.
Shoddy defense from the Naturals helped Tulsa take the lead in the fourth. Kyle Parker led off with a routine ground ball to third, but first baseman Matt Fields dropped the throw for an error. After Henry Wrigley singled, another error loaded the bases as right fielder Roman Hernandez dropped a short fly ball off the bat of Roling. Langfels put the Drillers in front with a sacrifice fly, and when Dustin Garneau followed with a run-scoring groundout, the lead increased to 3-1.
In the fifth, Delta Cleary Jr. singled and scored on a base hit by Parker to give Tulsa a four-run cushion.
Langfels then made it 5-1 in the sixth when he led off with his third home run of the season.
The Drillers finished the scoring in the bottom of the eighth inning on a RBI double from Kent Matthes.
Tulsa put together a solid effort at the plate as a whole. Cleary, Matthes, and Garneau each reached base three times in the game, while Langfels collected three RBI. In addition, Wrigley extended his hitting streak to six games with a single in the fourth before being ejected an inning later for arguing with home plate umpire Matt Benham.
Friday's game began 35 minutes late due to rain showers in the downtown Tulsa area.
Tulsa will continue its homestand Saturday night with game two against the Naturals. The pitching matchup will feature Dan Houston (0-2, 4.26 ERA) for the Drillers against Jason Adam (0-2, 15.85 ERA) for Northwest Arkansas. First pitch at ONEOK Field will be at 7:05PM with Fireworks scheduled for after the game.
Fans unable to attend the game at ONEOK Field can listen to the action live on AM1430, The Buzz in Tulsa. The broadcast is also available at TulsaDrillers.com, or through the I Heart Radio app or website.