SPRINGDALE, Ark. - Northwest Arkansas led Tuesday night's game 4-2 through eight innings behind a gem by starter J.C. Sulbaran, but Tulsa plated six ninth-inning runs, aided by two errors, to defeat the Naturals 8-4 at Arvest Ballpark.
Sulbaran was spectacular as he has been all season long against the Drillers. The righty fired five innings of shutout baseball and was only charged with one run when a baserunner he was responsible for scored after he had exited the contest. Sulbaran went six-plus innings and allowed just three hits while walking three and striking out five. Despite not factoring into the decision, he carries a 2-1 record with a 1.78 ERA against Tulsa during the 2014 season in six starts; Sulbaran has made more starts against the Drillers this season than any other Natural.
Northwest Arkansas cracked the scoreboard first in the third inning. Edinson Rincon led off with his sixth double of the year and he was followed by two bunt singles from Ethan Chapman and Angel Franco to give the Naturals a 1-0 advantage. The club increased its lead to two in the sixth when Justin Trapp singled to left, stole second and scored on a sacrifice bunt by Chapman.
Tulsa finally found some offense in the seventh, scoring two runs on a Tyler Massey RBI triple and a groundout later in frame, but the Naturals recaptured the lead with two runs in the bottom half of the inning. Parker Morin came up with a timely single to score Jorge Bonifacio and Hunter Dozier, who singled and walked respectively, to put Northwest Arkansas on top 4-2.
LHP Ken Roberts (6-2) earned the win for Tulsa while RHP Andrew Triggs (4-2) took the loss. Orlando Calixte, Bonifacio and Morin each collected two hits on the night. LHP Chris Capuano, a 10-year Major League veteran, went 4.2 innings as the Drillers starter allowing one run on four hits.
Northwest Arkansas will look to earn a series split against Tulsa tomorrow, Wednesday, July 16 on #winningwednesday. The Royals' No. 10 prospect, RHP Christian Binford (1-0, 4.00), is slated to make his third Double-A start for the Naturals against the Colorado Rockies top prospect RHP Jon Gray (8-4, 2.77) with the first pitched scheduled for 7:05 p.m.
You can catch all live play-by-play action with the Voice of the Naturals Benjamin Kelly on your home for the Naturals 92.1 the Ticket at 6:50 a.m. Indigo Sky Casino Pregame Show leading up to first pitch.
The Northwest Arkansas Naturals are the Double-A Texas League Affiliate of the Kansas City Royals. The Naturals play at state-of-the-art Arvest Ballpark in Springdale, Ark. For more information including statistics, ticket options, and more, please visit NWANaturals.com, and follow us on Twitter @NWANaturals and Facebook.com/Naturals.