This season, the Tulsa Drillers have already experienced the euphoria of two walk-off wins at ONEOK Field. But Wednesday afternoon in Little Rock, the Drillers experienced how it feels to be on the other side of a dramatic win. With the game tied at three in the bottom of the ninth inning, Taylor Lindsey drove a 1-2 pitch over the right field wall to give the Arkansas Travelers a 4-3 walk-off win over the Drillers at Dickey-Stephens Park.
The sudden loss ruined a late comeback from the Drillers. After spotting Arkansas a 3-0 lead in the third inning, Tulsa had narrowed the deficit to one run going into the ninth inning. Down to their final out in the top of the ninth, Delta Cleary Jr. ripped a line drive to left field scoring Dustin Garneau from second to tie the game at 3-3, before the Travs second baseman ended it in the next half inning.
Parker Frazier suffered the loss in relief of starter Tyler Matzek, who allowed three runs on six hits in 6.2 innings pitched. It was the lefthander's longest outing this season. Frazier had worked 1.1 perfect innings before giving up the walk-off to Lindsey.
Keeping with recent trends, Tulsa watched Arkansas take an early lead with its three-run third. With one out, Travelers leadoff man Rolando Gomez doubled to deep center field. After the second out of the inning was recorded, first baseman C.J. Cron dumped a single into shallow left field to score Gomez with the game's first run.
After issuing a walk to Randal Grichuk, Matzek gave up a two-run double to Kaleb Cowart that stretched the Travelers lead to 3-0.
Tulsa responded with a run in the fourth. Kent Matthes singled to lead off the inning. Matthes then stole second and advanced to third when Arkansas catcher Mark Fleury's throw was wide of the bag. He then scored on a single to left by Kiel Roling.
In the sixth, Matthes and Roling teamed up once again to cut the Travelers lead to one. Matthes led off the inning with a double and advanced to third on a wild pitch by Travs starter Lay Batista. After Kyle Parker popped out to short, Roling plated Matthes once again with a double to center field.
The score would remain 3-2 until the pivotal ninth inning.
The Drillers, who pounded out 11 hits in the loss, missed on several opportunities to take control of the game. Jayson Langfels and Angelys Nina both lined into inning-ending double plays in the game, and Roling, who went 2-4 with two RBI, was thrown out at the plate by Arkansas center fielder Travis Witherspoon to end the sixth.
Cleary Jr. and Garneau each had a pair of singles to go along with the two-hit performances by Matthes and Roling.
The Drillers and Travs will hook up at Dickey-Stephens Park again on Thursday night. Tulsa will send Dan Houston (0-2, 3.96 ERA) to the mound to face Arkansas right-hander Matt Oye (3-1, 3.47 ERA). First pitch is scheduled for 7:10PM.
Fans can follow the action by tuning to AM1430, The Buzz in Tulsa for the live play-by-play. The broadcast will also be available at TulsaDrillers.com, or through the I Heart Radio app or website.