Tulsa, OK - It took 10 innings, 13 hits, 3 homers and over 3 ½ hours, but the Tulsa Drillers found a way to beat the Frisco RoughRiders Monday night at ONEOK Field. After spotting the RoughRiders a four-run lead through the game's first four innings, the Drillers slowly chipped away at the lead, eventually sending the game into extra innings with a run in the bottom of the ninth. In the tenth inning, Tim Locastro played the role of hero with a game-winning double that gave the Drillers a 7-6 victory.
The winning rally began when Mike Ahmed drew a one-out walk against former major league pitcher Adam Loewen. Two pitches later, Locastro made Loewen pay for the free pass. The Tulsa centerfielder went the opposite way on a delivery from the lefthander, lining a drive into the gap in right-center field. The ball rolled to the fence, allowing Ahmed to streak home with the game-winning run.
The hit was the second of the night for Locastro and continued an early season hot streak. He is now hitting .364 through the first 10 games of the season.
The offensive production started early in the game with both teams getting on the scoreboard in the first inning. The Riders took the lead first, scoring the game's opening run without registering a hit. With one out, Andy Ibanez drew a walk from Josh Sborz and promptly swiped second base. Ibanez moved to third on a fly out and scored the game's first run when Sborz delivered a wild pitch.
The red-hot Edwin Rios got the Drillers on the scoreboard in the bottom half of the first. With two outs and the bases empty, Kyle Garlick singled for the first of his three hits. Rios followed with this third home run of the season to put Tulsa in front 2-1.
The early offensive output continued into the second inning as the RoughRiders went back in front thanks to another homer. Isiah Kiner-Falefa and Matt Lipka opened the second with consecutive singles. After a strikeout, Michael De Leon drove a ball over the right field fence, just inside the foul pole, for his first home run of the year to move Frisco back in front 4-2.
The RoughRiders added two more runs in the fourth inning as Lipka and Jose Cardona set the table with back-to-back, one-out singles. Lipka eventually scored on another wild pitch from Sborz, while Cardona came home on a double by Scott Heineman.
Jose Fernandez started Tulsa's comeback when he ended a 0-11 slump with a two-out home run in the fifth that pulled the Drillers to within 6-3.
Tulsa used another long ball in the sixth to edge closer when Paul Hoenecke belted a drive down the right field line that easily cleared the fence and landed on Elgin Avenue. The solo blast was Hoenecke's second of the year and cut the Frisco lead to 6-4.
The Drillers reduced the deficit to one with another run in the seventh, but it could have been more. With one out, Locastro reached safely on an error and moved to third on a double by Fernandez. Garlick followed with a base hit, scoring Locastro and putting runners at the corners. Rios failed to pick up an RBI though as he struck out, and Kyle Farmer's bid for a go-ahead hit was denied on a running catch by Heineman in deep, right-center field.
The Drillers finally evened the score and forced extra innings with a run in the bottom of the ninth. With one out, Garlick walked and moved to second on a base hit by Rios. Following another walk that loaded the bases, pinch-hitter Wynston Sawyer hit a slow chopper up the middle that the RoughRiders could only turn into a force out at second, as Garlick crossed the plate to tie the game at 6-6.
The Tulsa bullpen was outstanding in the victory, as four relievers combined to blank the Riders for 6.1 innings. Ralston Cash worked a scoreless top of the tenth to pick up the victory, his first of the season.
Tulsa and Frisco will continue their series Tuesday night at ONEOK Field. Scott Barlow (0-1, 4.70 ERA) will pitch for the Drillers against Connor Sadzeck (0-1, 7.20 ERA) of the RoughRiders. Starting time 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.