TULSA, OKLA. (MAY 29, 2014) - After two unplanned days off, the Frisco RoughRiders showed no sign of rust and swept a doubleheader from the Tulsa Drillers by a 13-4 margin in game one and 3-2 final in game two on Thursday night at ONEOK Field.
The RoughRiders exploded for 15 hits in a game one blowout and withstood a Tulsa rally with a one-run squeaker in the second half of the twin bill.
Jerad Eickhoff (4-3) earned the win in the first game. Despite allowing a season-high 10 hits in the game, the right-hander enjoyed plenty of run support, thanks to a trio of home runs.
Odubel Herrera and Chris Grayson each hit their first home runs of the season, and Ryan Rua added his ninth as the 'Riders took a 13-2 lead into the seventh inning (the final frame of regulation in a doubleheader game).
Eickhoff began the seventh and picked up the first two outs, but could not seal the deal as he allowed a solo home run to Delta Cleary, Jr. and three straight singles to load the bases.
The 23-year-old allowed four runs and no walks over his 6 2/3 innings and recorded six strikeouts.
Ryan Rodebaugh closed the game when he induced a fly out from Tyler Massey. Rodebaugh previously walked Dustin Garneau with the bases loaded, but the run was charged to Eickhoff.
Jon Gray (5-3) suffered the loss. The RoughRiders jumped on the 3rd overall selection in the 2013 June draft early as he made his second start against the 'Riders this season.
On May 22, Gray allowed one run on five hits over six innings with one walk and four strikeouts en route to his fifth win in 2014.
Thursday told a different tale as the 'Riders tagged Gray for eight runs and eight hits over 5 1/3 innings. He allowed two home runs and two walks with four strikeouts.
Frisco and Tulsa combined for 25 hits in game one, but pitching told the story in the second half of the doubleheader.
Luke Jackson (6-2) pitched the first six innings in game two and notched his sixth win of the season. The righty allowed two runs on five hits and one walk. He also tied his season-high with eight strikeouts in the game.
Phil Klein notched his sixth save after he pitched a scoreless ninth inning. Klein allowed a leadoff walk, but retired the next three batters to preserve the 3-2 score.
Carlos Hernandez (1-3) allowed all three 'Riders runs in the second installment on seven hits with one walk and one strikeout.
With the pair of wins, Frisco (32-20) clinches both series against the Drillers in the first half of the season. The RoughRiders have not lost on the road against the north division this season (8-0).
Tulsa (27-25) is now 1-4 against the 'Riders this season and falls to 8-12 against the south division.
In game one on Thursday afternoon, Drew Robinson drew a one-out walk from Gray and scored shortly thereafter on the tenth double of the season by Jake Smolinski.
Two batters later, Herrera delivered on an inside fastball and mailed it out of the park in right field to give the RoughRiders a 3-0 advantage in the first inning.
The blast was Herrera's first of the season and 12th of his career. Despite 13-mph winds, Herrera's line drive discovered a vacant region of the ONEOK berm with little assistance.
With an approach akin to their first series against the RoughRiders, Tulsa displayed aggressive tendencies at the plate. In the second inning, the Drillers swung early in counts and put runners on the corners with one out.
Harold Riggins bounced a grounder to Rua at third base, but a surprise hop froze Rua and a run scored to put the Drillers on the board.
After the teams exchanged runs in the third inning to make the score 4-2 Frisco, the 'Riders blew the doors open in the sixth.
With two on and one out, Rua smoked a fastball to the wall in centerfield. The shot brought Smolinski and Tomás Telis home to edge the lead to 6-2.
Gray's final batter faced, Grayson, drilled his first home run of the season to extend the advantage to 8-2.
Grayson began the season with the RoughRiders, but departed for Advanced-A Myrtle Beach on May 12. In his first game back with Frisco, the outfielder cranked his first long ball at the Double-A level.
Kraig Sitton entered the game to pitch for the Drillers on the heels of Grayson's home run. The 'Riders offense chugged along and tallied three base hits against the reliever, but no RBI.
The southpaw Sitton struggled with his command and launched three wild pitches, two of which scored runs for the RoughRiders, who took a 10-2 lead into the final frame of regulation.
The 'Riders brought ten men to the plate in the sixth inning and scored half a dozen runs in the frame.
Batting practice continued in the seventh. A Rua two-run home run served as the capstone of a three-run inning and the RoughRiders led 13-2 before the Drillers scored twice to arrive at the 13-4 final score in game one.
The RoughRiders again opened the scoring in game two. An RBI double by Rua gave the road team a 1-0 lead. The third baseman doubled again in the fourth for his 11th two-bagger of the season and third of the twin bill.
Two innings later, Frisco pushed its lead to 3-0. With one out and runners on second and third, the Drillers intentionally walked Teodoro Martinez to load the bases and bring Robinson to the plate.
On the first pitch from Hernandez, Robinson lined to right field for a base hit that scored Telis, who had reached on an error by third baseman Joey Wong to begin the frame.
Guilder Rodriguez then batted Rua home to give the 'Riders a run they would later need when the Drillers mounted a comeback.
Taylor Featherston registered the first base hit of the game against Jackson in the fourth inning on a double to right. Cristhian Adames singled home Featherston and Tulsa illuminated the scoreboard.
In the sixth inning, the Drillers mounted a two-out rally against Jackson. An RBI double by Brian Humphries brought home Ryan Casteel and made the game a one-run affair.
Jackson surrendered a walk to Riggins in the next plate appearance, but worked his way through the inning when Massey flew out to right field.
Thursday's doubleheader brings an end to a truncated two-game series with the Drillers. Because the first two games were postponed, and this marks the final meeting between the two teams in the first half of the season, the lost third game will not be rescheduled. Pending any additional abbreviations to the schedule, Tulsa and Frisco will play 69 games each in the first half, instead of 70.
Frisco now heads east to (hopefully) begin a three-game set with the Springfield Cardinals in Missouri. First pitch on Friday is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. and coverage begins at 6:45 p.m. on www.ridersbaseball.com.
The 'Riders return to Dr Pepper Ballpark on Tuesday, June 3 to begin a four-game series with the San Antonio Missions. For tickets to see the 'Riders in 2014, call 972-731-9200, e-mail Info@RidersBaseball.com or visit www.ridersbaseball.com.