For six innings Friday night, the Tulsa Drillers were held without a hit in North Little Rock. But, when the first hit finally came, it was productive. Tyler Kuhn's lined single with one out in the top of the seventh plated the game's first run, and the Drillers used a strong outing from Tyler Matzek to manufacture a 2-0 victory over the Arkansas Travelers.
For most of the game, the question was not whether the Drillers would get their third straight victory, but whether they would get a hit. Travs starting pitcher Michael Cisco held Tulsa without a hit through the first four innings, and Nick Maronde did the same in two relief innings. But Matzek nearly matched the pair, surrendering only one hit through his six innings of work.
With the two teams in a scoreless deadlock, Cristhian Adames and Kyle Parker drew consecutive walks from Ryan Chaffee to open the top of the seventh. Both runners moved into scoring position when Kiel Roling hit a slow roller to third for the inning's first out. Kuhn then lined a 2-1 pitch from Chaffee into centerfield for Tulsa's first hit, and Adames jogged home with the game's first run.
Angelys Nina followed with a sacrifice fly that plated Parker to give the Drillers a 2-0 lead.
The bullpen made sure the lead held and that Matzek picked up the win. Leuris Gomez and Mitchell Boggs each worked a scoreless inning without allowing a hit before turning the ninth inning over to Juan Gonzalez.
Gonzalez allowed a leadoff double to Drew Heid, but he retired the next three batters to record his third save of the season.
Matzek allowed only the one hit, but he did walk five in his six innings of work. The outing lowered his season ERA to 3.22, while the victory improved his record to 6-6.
The game featured only five hits, three from the Drillers and two from the Travelers. The hit total matched the lowest for a Tulsa opponent this season.
Despite the lack of offense, the game still took 2 hours and 52 minutes to complete.
The two teams will continue their series Saturday night. The pitching matchup will feature Chad Bettis (3-4, 3.81 ERA) for Tulsa against ex-Driller Brandon Hynick (9-3, 2.66 ERA) for Arkansas. Starting time at Dickey Stephens Park is scheduled for 7:10PM.