FRISCO, TEXAS (MAY 21, 2014) - A three-run fifth inning and four more runs in the seventh catapulted the Tulsa Drillers to a 7-2 win over the Frisco RoughRiders Thursday afternoon at Dr Pepper Ballpark.
Thanks to home runs from Ryan Casteel and Jayson Langfels the Drillers built an insurmountable lead. After going 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position in the first game, Tulsa took care of business on Thursday, bringing in four of their eight runners in scoring position.
Through the first four innings, though, the 'Riders (27-19) had the only two hits of the game. In the bottom of the fourth frame, Tomas Telis used a perfectly placed bunt to get him on base. Frisco's catcher has now hit safely in six of his last seven games.
In the fifth inning, however, the bats started to heat up for both teams. After retiring his first 11 batters, Jerad Eickhoff left a few too many balls hanging over the plate. Casteel got the Drillers' first hit of the game with a home run to center field, followed by a double from Brian Humphries. After giving up a walk in between two singles, the bases were loaded with no outs. The 23-year-old used a double play and strikeout to get out of the inning facing only a 3-0 deficit.
It did not take long for the 'Riders to respond as Drew Robinson got Frisco on the board in the bottom of the inning with his fifth homer of the season. However, Robinson did not receive much support as his team's only other hit at that point came from Telis' bunt.
Eickhoff got Delta Cleary Jr. swinging to start the sixth inning, giving him his fifth strikeout of the game and 44th on the year. The righty pitcher now has the fifth most strikeouts in the Texas League, trailing teammates Luke Jackson (49) and Alec Asher (47).
Behind 3-1 to start the bottom of the sixth, the RoughRiders had a good chance to make up ground quickly by putting two men on with no outs. Gray (5-2), though, stayed under control and used a double play to end the inning, his last on the mound. The 2013 third overall pick gave up only five hits and one earned run over six strong innings. He is now tied with Thomas Shirley and teammate Daniel Winkler for most wins in the Texas League (5).
The Drillers (25-21) poured it on in the seventh, when things started to fall apart for the 'Riders. With Eickhoff approaching triple-digit pitches going into the inning, Tulsa's batters started to put the pressure on. After Joey Wong doubled to right field, Langfels smacked a two-run homer to give the Drillers a commanding 5-1 lead. Eickhoff (4-2) would not finish the inning and took the loss. His effort included five earned runs on six hits over 6 1/3 innings.
Ryan Rodebaugh came in to relieve Eickhoff, but was never able to find his rhythm after giving up two more earned runs to push the deficit to 7-1. Reliever Jon Edwards finally stopped the bleeding and induced a groundout from Casteel to end the inning.
The 'Riders picked up one more run in the bottom of the eighth inning thanks to Trever Adams' third hit of the afternoon. This was Adams' second three-hit performance in the past three games. Drillers righty Nelson Gonzalez closed out the ninth inning with three quick outs to tie up the series at a game a piece.
The RoughRiders will look to bounce back and take the series on Friday at 7:05 p.m. at Dr Pepper Ballpark. Right-hander Luke Jackson (4-2, 3.19 ERA) will suit up for Frisco and take on lefty Tyler Anderson (3-1, 2.48 ERA). For tickets to see the 'Riders in 2014, call 972-731-9200, e-mail Info@RidersBaseball.com or visit www.ridersbaseball.com.