The Tulsa Drillers opened a seven-game road trip Thursday night in North Little Rock, and Jayson Langfels again played the role of hero. Only twenty-four hours after producing a walk-off single to beat Northwest Arkansas, Langfels again struck late to beat the Arkansas Travelers. The third baseman's solo homer to lead off the 11th inning broke a deadlock and gave the Drillers a 4-3 win over the Travs at Dickey Stephens Park.
For Langfels, it was his seventh home run of the season. For the Drillers, it was their Texas League leading 19th one-run win. They are now 19-12 in contests decided by a single run. The 31 one-run games are the most in the TL.
Langfels homer came off Mike Morin. After taking a called first pitch strike, he belted the next offering over the left field fence to put the Drillers in front for the third time in the game.
Closer Cole White, working his second inning, made sure this one held. White pitched around a one-out walk in the bottom of the 11th to collect the win and improve his record to 2-3.
The Drillers had twice before taken leads in the game. The first came in the opening inning when Joey Wong drew a walk from Arkansas starter Matt Oye and scored on Kiel Roling's two-out double.
The Travelers answered with a run of their own in the bottom of the second. Robbie Widlansky led off with a double against Christian Bergman, moved to third on a sacrifice bunt by Kaleb Cowart and scored on a sacrifice fly from Travis Witherspoon to even the score at 1-1.
Tulsa went back in front with a two-run fourth. The first run came courtesy of Dustin Garneau on his seventh homer of the year. The second scored when Langfels singled, advanced to second on a ground out and came home on a two-out base hit from Jaron Shepherd.
Arkansas again responded with two runs of its own in the sixth that tied the score at 3-3. With one out, Taylor Lindsey and C.J. Cron produced back-to-back singles. Widlansky made it three straight hits with a double to right that plated Lindsey to cut the Drillers lead to one. Cowart followed with a groundball to second baseman Angelys Nina who threw home too late to prevent Cron from sliding in with the tying run.
The Drillers offense produced 16 hits in the game. Shepherd and Garneau had three hits each, while Langfels, Nina and Kyle Parker collected two each.
Bergman turned in another solid outing, yet received another no decision. The right-hander allowed three runs on six hits in seven innings. He did not issue a walk while picking up three strikeouts. It is the seventh time this season that Bergman has received a no decision when surrendering three runs or less while pitching at least six innings.
Joe Gardner retired all six batters he faced in two scoreless relief innings.
Arkansas was limited to only six hits and was held without a hit over the final five innings.
Game two between the Drillers and Travelers will be played at 7:10PM Friday night in North Little Rock. Tyler Matzek (5-6, 3.42 ERA) will pitch for Tulsa while Arkansas has yet to announce a starter.