TULSA, OK - Michael Bianucci (6) bashed two solo home runs to leads the Arkansas Travelers to a 3-1 victory over the Tulsa Drillers on Saturday night at ONEOK Field. With back-to-back wins the Travs split the four-game series at Tulsa. Nate Smith (5-2) dealt six effective innings to earn his 11th victory overall this year. Cam Bedrosian earned his 11th save in 12 tries with a perfect ninth inning.
After dropping eight straight the Travs picked up consecutive victories to move within one game of first place Northwest Arkansas with a 10-12 second half record.
Smith set down the first eight Tulsa batters before allowing a triple to Brian Humphries in the third inning. He left Humphries on base when Delta Cleary, Jr. flied out on a 3-0 pitch.
Tulsa lefty Tyler Anderson fired five scoreless innings, but had to squeak through the first two frames with five runners left on base.
Smith was touched for his only run in the fifth inning when he walked Jared Simon, who scored on a triple to right-center by Drillers catcher Jose Gonzalez. Smith struck out five batters in the his last two innings and finished with eight whiffs against three walks and two base hits in six innings.
R.J. Seidel relieved Anderson and blew the save immediately when Bianucci hit a leadoff home run in the sixth inning.
In the top of the seventh inning Seidel walked Maikol Gonzalez then tried to pick him off at first base. However the throw kicked off David Bergin's glove at first base and rolled away sending Gonzalez to third base. He scampered to the plate and scored when Jared Simon caught Alex Yarbrough's sacrifice fly and overthrew home plate.
Bianucci added to the lead with another solo home run in the eighth inning off Seidel to deep left-center.
After R.J. Alvarez struck out all three batters he faced in the seventh inning, Jairo Diaz allowed a single to Humphries and a double to Cleary with no outs in the eighth putting the tying runs in scoring position. However Diaz got Joey Wong to slowly ground out to third base keeping the runners anchored. Then he walked Cristhain Adames to put the go-ahead run on base. However Diaz struck out Trevor Story for the second out then Taylor Featherston bounced to shortstop where Eric Stamets initially bobbled the ball, but was still able to get the force play at second.
Bedrosian pitched his second perfect inning in as many nights to secure the win and finished the night with a strikeout of Gonzalez to help the Travs set a season-high in a nine-inning game with 13 strikeouts.
Time of game was 3:10 and the paid attendance 6,493.
Now heading home for a four-game series with the Springfield Cardinals on Sunday, the Travs will throw Orangel Arenas (5-6, 3.67) against the Cards Mike Mayers (1-2, 3.46). Game time on Sunday is 6:10 and the gates at Dickey-Stephens Park open at 5:10 p.m.