The Tulsa Drillers entered a cold Saturday night with an opportunity to sweep their first home series of the season against the Frisco RoughRiders. Three solo home runs and a solid start from Devin Smeltzer gave the Drillers a 5-4 victory and their first three-game sweep of the season.
After a shaky outing against Midland last Sunday evening, Smeltzer gave the Drillers a solid outing on the cold evening. The lefty struck out eight RoughRiders in four innings of work.
Mike Ahmed staked Smeltzer to an early 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second inning with a sacrifice fly that scored Angelo Mora, who had doubled.
Frisco tied the score in the fourth, with the only run against Smeltzer. But, the Drillers got the run back in the bottom of the fifth after a defensive miscue by Frisco. With two outs in the inning, Mora hit an infield popup that was misplayed, allowing Luke Raley to score from second to give Tulsa a 2-1 lead.
The RoughRiders took the lead back in the top of the sixth on a two-run homer from Preston Beck, but Ahmed evened the score at 3-3 in the bottom half of the inning by smacking a moon-shot into the Busch Terrace in left field for his first home run of the year.
The Drillers kept the theme of the long-ball going in the bottom of the seventh when Will Smith and Connor Joe went back-to-back with solo homers to put Tulsa on top 5-3.
Frisco would get a run back in the eighth, but Josh Sborz came in and tossed 1.2 innings to earn his second save of the season and seal the Drillers win and the series sweep.
WHAT YOU MISSED:
*The RoughRiders threatened in the top of the eighth by loading the bases with one out. Sborz forced a groundball that second baseman Ahmed and shortstop Errol Robinson turned into a highlight reel, inning-ending double play.
*The win, combined with an Arkansas loss to San Antonio, moved the Drillers into sole-possession of first place in the Texas League North Division with a 6-3 record.
*The Drillers have now hit 15 home runs in 9 games.
*Luke Raley went 3 for 4 on the night, improving the leadoff hitter's average to .303.
*Game time temperature was 42 degrees with an even colder wind chill. It was a big change from opening night's record-setting high temperature.
The Drillers open up a three-game set against the Midland RockHounds in a rematch of the Texas League Championship Series. The first pitch is scheduled for 4:05 p.m. at ONEOK Field in the first afternoon game of the year. Tomorrow's probable starters are:
Midland Kyle Friedrichs (1-0, 1.50 ERA)
Tulsa Yadier Alvarez (0-1, 2.08 ERA)
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.