Springdale, AR - The Tulsa Drillers bats continued to stay hot on Sunday as they completed the four-game series sweep with a 10-2 win against the Northwest Arkansas Naturals. The ten runs scored and 18 hits were both season-highs for Tulsa. The win also is its fourth in a row, another season-high.
The win also brought the Drillers record to 18-17 which is the first time in 2017 that they have been above the .500 mark. Tulsa entered the series 4.5 games behind the first-place Naturals, but the four-straight wins narrowed the gap to only 0.5 games.
The scoring got started in the top of the third as Tim Locastro led the inning off with a single. Michael Ahmed followed that up with an RBI double allowing Locastro to score. Kyle Farmer brought Ahmed home with a single to make the score 2-0 in favor of the Drillers.
The Naturals would tighten the gap in the bottom of the third with an RBI single from Humberto Artega to bring the score to 2-1.
In the bottom of the fifth, Northwest Arkansas came back to tie the game with an RBI double by Alfredo Escalera making the score 2-2. This would end up being all of the damage that the Naturals would get off of Tulsa starter Ivan Vieitez. He threw five innings, gave up a pair of runs and struck out five.
The Drillers had a huge top of the seventh where the offense exploded for five more runs. Wynston Sawyer led the inning off with a single, followed by a Johan Mieses single. Stetson Allie then added an RBI single, followed by a Matt Beaty RBI single to bring the lead to 4-2. Locastro followed him up with a single, then Ahmed knocked in a run with another single bringing the lead to 5-2. Farmer added to the damage with a sacrifice fly, and Kyle Garlick hit an RBI single to make the score 7-2. The Drillers ended the inning with five runs on eight hits.
The runs kept coming in the top of the eighth. Allie and Beaty both singled. Locastro stepped in and doubled them both home to bring the lead to 9-2.
The Drillers added one more insurance run in the top of the ninth with Farmer leading the inning off with a double. Mieses hit a ball that Naturals center fielder Elier Hernandez misplayed that brought Farmer home, making the score 10-2.
The ability to get timely hits was the Drillers recipe for success. On the day, the Drillers were 9-for-19 with runners in scoring position and only stranded seven runners on base.
Colt Hynes was the unsung hero of the game by pitching three strong innings out of the bullpen. He allowed no runs on only three hits and a strikeout on the day. Ralston Cash finished off the Naturals with an inning of work, allowing no hits and a strikeout.
The Drillers will look to continue their winning ways as they head to Springfield for a four-game series against the Cardinals. Andrew Sopko (0-3, 4.20 ERA) will face Dakota Hudson (1-2, 3.41 ERA) in the series opener. First pitch is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. on Monday evening.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.