Statistically Northwest Arkansas entered Saturday night's game with the Tulsa Drillers as the Texas League's weakest offense. The Naturals were last in the TL in runs scored and their .227 team batting average was also the lowest in the league. But, they looked anything but offensively challenged Saturday, hitting three home runs and exploding for 11 runs in an 11-4 victory at Arvest Ballpark.
The result snapped a two-game winning streak for the Drillers and ended a six-game losing streak for the Naturals.
Orlando Calixte got the Naturals off to a fast start with his first home run of the season in the top of the first inning. The two-run shot came after Tulsa starting pitcher Tyler Matzek walked leadoff hitter Brett Eibner on four straight pitches.
Another two-run homer from Matt Fields in the fourth doubled the lead for Northwest Arkansas. It was the 10th home run of the year for the Naturals first baseman. A sacrifice fly from Eibner later in the inning made it 5-0.
Alex McClure doubled and eventually scored on a wild pitch in the sixth inning before the Naturals erupted for five more run in the seventh. Angel Franco tripled home two of the runs, and Eibner plated two more with his third homer of the season that made it 11-0.
Kiel Roling accounted for all of Tulsa's runs with one swig of the bat in the top of the eighth. The inning began with a leadoff double from Joey Wong before Rafael Ortega and Delta Cleary Jr. drew walks to load the bases. Roling followed with the first grand slam of the season for a Drillers hitter. It was his ninth homer of the year.
Tulsa was limited to only five hits in the game. Cleary Jr. was the only Drillers player with more than one hit, finishing 2-3.
Matzek worked five innings, surrendering six hits and five runs. The lefthander walked five and struck out four. The defeat dropped his record to 1-4.
The Drillers road record fell to 5-13 with the defeat.
Tulsa and Northwest Arkansas will play game three of their four-game series Sunday afternoon at Arvest Ballpark. Christian Bergman (2-2, 3.28 ERA) will take the mound for the Drillers against Jason Adam (0-4, 8.64 ERA) of the Naturals. Starting time is scheduled for 2:00PM in Springdale.