A victory in the opener of the Texas League Championship Series meant the Double-A Drillers at least would split the road games. A win in Game 2 gave them a stranglehold on the Finals.
Matt Beaty went 3-for-5 with a two-run double and Tulsa held on late to edge Midland, 5-4, on Wednesday night. The Drillers head home needing just one more win to clinch the best-of-5 series.
Video: Tulsa's Beaty belts double to score two
"We're definitely happy with how the trip went down there," the No. 30 Dodgers prospect said during his team's bus ride back to Oklahoma. "We were confident anyways going down. We were confident with the guys that we have, and you know there's going to be a hero every night with this lineup."
Beaty was one of them in Game 2. Tulsa broke open a scoreless game with a five-run fourth engineered by a host of doubles. The Drillers followed Erick Mejia's leadoff single to center field with a double to right by 18th-ranked Dodgers prospect Drew Jackson and a two-run two-bagger to left by Peter O'Brien. Four batters later, Beaty clubbed a double to center, driving in a pair, and Kyle Garlick capped the inning with a double to left that plated Beaty.
Gameday box score
"I was just trying to put the barrel on the ball and hit it hard somewhere," said the circuit's Player of the Year. "Luckily, I got it in the gap, and both guys were able to score.
"We are confident in our bats and that we're going to score runs. We're also confident with the pitchers that we have. When we got that big lead, we felt pretty good. We felt confident that we were going to be able to pull it out."
Tulsa kept its advantage through a pivotal moment in the sixth. After Midland put two aboard with two outs, Errol Robinson dove to snare a liner off the bat of Jermaine Curtis to end the inning.
Video: Tulsa's Robinson makes diving catch
"That was awesome," Beaty said. "Errol's been struggling at the plate a little bit for us, but we know that he's very valuable on the defensive side of things also. For him to go out there and make a play like that, even though he wasn't getting the hits, that was really cool to be able to see him do that."
The RockHounds responded with four runs between the seventh and eighth, highlighted by a two-RBI triple to center by Sheldon Neuse before the Drillers bullpen buckled down. Daniel Corcino worked around a leadoff single by Jordan Tarsovich in the ninth to finish off the win.
"It's definitely a happy bus being able to go back to Tulsa for us to win rather than if we would've lost," Beaty said. "It would've been a bit more mellow bus and not as loud as it is right now."
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Tulsa will try to capture its first Texas League title since 1998 in Game 3 on Friday night.