NORTH LITTLE ROCK -
The Arkansas Travelers tried to win in walkoff fashion for the second night in a row, but a few mental errors kept a ninth-inning comeback from coming to fruition. The Tulsa Drillers evened the series with a 6-5 win at Dickey-Stephens Park on Thursday night.
Jay Caligiuri worked a walk to start the final frame with the Travs (26-39) down two and was replaced by pinch-runner Kevin Ramos. Ramos was then picked off by Tulsa closer Andrew Johnston (S, 19) during Hainley Statia's at-bat, and Statia lined a stand-up triple past centerfielder Anthony Jackson, who slipped trying to make a diving catch. Statia scored on a sacrifice fly by Coby Smith to bring the Travs within one, but Nate Sutton popped out to end the game.
"It shouldn't happen. But what can you do now? He's not trying to get picked, but it can't happen. Hopefully he can learn from that," Arkansas manager Bobby Magallanes said.
In the top of the ninth, Traveler reliever Bobby Mosebach gave up an leadoff infield single to Brad Corely, a grounder deep in the hole on the right side of the infield that both the second and first basemen attempted to field. Second baseman Ivan Contreras fielded the ball but Mosebach was a step behind Corely running to the bag. After a sacrifice bunt and groundout moved Corely to third, a Daniel Mayora two-out single drove in Corely for a crucial insurance run. It was the first run Mosebach has allowed in 20.1 innings in Double-A this season.
"Not covering first hurt him. If he gets there on time, the run never scores and the game's tied right now, and we're probably still playing," Magallanes said. "Those are little things we've got to clean up as a team and play winning baseball."
Arkansas lefthander Barret Browning (L, 0-5) made his third start of the year and first that didn't come in the back half of a doubleheader. Browning only gave up six hits in five innings, but he walked three and yielded three runs, while striking out four Drillers (35-30).
"He gave us five innings. He made a couple mistakes that cost him with guys in scoring position. He had Mayora 0-2 [in the third inning], and he leaves a slider over the plate, which he had been burying guys with before, but all of a sudden he doesn't get it where he wanted it and gives up a two-run double," Magallanes said. "Besides that, it was a pretty good outing."
Mayora's two-out double in the third scoring Corley and Danny Sandoval, who led off the inning with a walk and single, respectively. Later in the inning, Browning fell behind Cole Garner and gave up a double down the left line to score Mayora. In the fifth inning, Browning gave up a walk, single and walk to load the bases with one out, and then after getting ahead of Garner, gave up a two-RBI single up the middle.
Arkansas did get plenty of offense, racking up double digit hits for the fifth time in six games. Coby Smith started the first inning off with a single, and then after a line-out and strikeout, Val Majewski singled and the Travs pulled off a double-steal to put two runners in scoring position with Mark Trumbo at the plate. Trumbo doubled to deep left-center, knocking in Smith and Majewski. Wil Ortiz then lined a hard single to center, but Trumbo was thrown out at the plate to end the inning.
Trumbo did have his best game as a Traveler since his Arkansas debut in July 2008, when he went 5-for-5 with two home runs against Tulsa. He recorded his first three-hit game of the season Thursday, two doubles and a triple on line drives crushed to centerfield. He matched his season-high four RBIs.
"He needed that game, and we needed that type of game out of him," Magallanes said. "That middle of the lineup - Hank, Majewski and Trumbo - those are our guys that we're counting on. Mark got four of the five RBIs. He did what he was supposed to do, and hopefully he starts to feel good about himself and really gets going."
The Travs got two more runs in the fifth, a rally that started with Smith reached on a throwing error by the third baseman. Smith then stole second, his league-leading 27th swipe of the year. The next two batters popped and lined out, respectively, and then Majewski drew a two-out walk. Trumbo made the Drillers pay again, lining a two-RBI triple to the warning track in left-center.
Tulsa starter Esmil Rogers (W, 6-2) was charged with four runs (two earned) and gave up nine hits and two walks in six innings, striking out one. Tommy Baumgardner (H, 5) and Jarrett Grube (H, 2) combined for two perfect inning of relief, with Grube striking out the side, and Johnston survived the ninth to seal the win.
Dickey-Stephens Park drew a crowd of 7,533 for a game that lasted 2:44. The Travs' Tommy Mendoza (4-2, 3.21 ERA) will take the mound tomorrow against Tulsa's Chaz Roe (1-0, 3.55), who has been on the disabled list and hasn't pitched since May 7.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.