The home opener for the Tulsa Drillers was Thursday night at ONEOK Field. Rain nearly spoiled the opener as the first half of the game was played in a steady downfall, but the Midland RockHounds were the real spoiler of the night. The RockHounds erased an early three-run lead by the Drillers and rallied for a 7-5 win before a sellout crowd of over 8,100 fans in downtown Tulsa.
Rain started to fall just minutes before the games' first pitch, but it did not prevent the Drillers from starting quickly. After being limited to only four hits in Monday's victory at Frisco, the Drillers topped that total in the first inning of Thursday's opener. Leadoff batter Tim Locastro got the inning off to a quick start when he tripled off the left-center field fence, then scored the game's first run when Jose Fernandez grounded out to first.
After Locastro crossed the plate, three straight singles by Kyle Farmer, Edwin Rios and Kyle Garlick produced a second run. A two-out base hit by Jacob Scavuzzo scored Rios to cap the big, three-run first inning.
Tulsa starting pitcher Isaac Anderson cruised through the first two innings before running into trouble in the top of the third, with all the damage coming with two outs. The inning began with a leadoff single from Melvin Mercedes. A one-out walk put runners at first and second, but a fly out advanced both runners into scoring position.
A loss of control then hampered Anderson as a wild pitch gave the RockHounds their first run before a hit batter put runners at the corners. Viosergy Rosa followed with his first home run of the season to clear the bases and give Midland a 4-3 lead.
Lefthander Michael Johnson took over for Anderson on the mound to start the fourth and struck out the first two batters of the inning before the RockHounds mounted another two-out rally. The door was opened when Mercedes reached on an error by shortstop Mike Ahmed. After Brett Vertigan singled, J.P. Sportman belted another three-run homer to increase the Midland lead to 7-3.
Tulsa used a home run of its own to get back in the game in the bottom of the fifth. With two outs and the bases empty, Farmer drew a walk. Rios followed with a drive that cleared the centerfield fence for his second homer of the season. The blast pulled the Drillers to within 7-5.
They would get no closer as the home run would mark the final base runner of the night for Tulsa. Midland's bullpen combined to retire the final 13 Drillers hitters in order to close out the game.
The loss overshadowed big nights at the plate for Locastro and Rio. The two finished with three hits each, accounting for 2/3 of Tulsa's nine hits.
The two teams will continue their series Friday night with the second game of their three-game set at ONEOK Field. Tim Shibuya (0-0, 6.75 ERA) will make his second start for the Drillers, while the RockHounds will send Kyle Friedrichs (0-1, 10.80 ERA) to the mound. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.