As Double-A Tulsa saw an early seven-run lead over Northwest Arkansas slip away, Drew Jackson also noticed the energy escape his teammates. When the Drillers loaded the bases in the seventh inning of a tie game, Los Angeles' 18th-ranked prospect knew he needed to deliver.
"I was just looking for a good pitch I can do damage with," he said. "I just was working on my timing and got it."
Video: Tulsa's Jackson bashes grand slam
Jackson lifted a fly ball over the left-field fence for a grand slam as Tulsa posted an 11-7 win in Game 2 on Thursday night at Arvest Park. That evened the best-of-5 Texas League semifinal.
"It was nice to get that hit and put us up. Getting back in the dugout, the energy was back, so it felt really good," said the 24-year-old infielder, who also walked twice and scored two runs.
Tulsa collected only four hits in a 3-1 loss in Game 1 on Wednesday night. The Drillers eclipsed that total before the end of the third in Game 2, taking a 4-0 lead on a two-run shot by Blake Gailen, who also walked three times and scored twice.
"We got a couple hits to start the game and it's contagious. The bats were hot," Jackson said. "We know how good we are as a team. Our bats just were cold [Wednesday] and we just stuck with what we've been doing. It worked today."
However, the Naturals rallied for three runs in the fourth and fifth before tying the game on a sacrifice fly by No. 18 Royals prospect Donald Dewees Jr. in the sixth.
Complete playoff coverage
Naturals reliever Yunior Marte (0-1) plunked Kyle Garlick to begin the seventh and was replaced by Matt Tenuta, who walked Gailen on five pitches before Erick Mejia beat out a bunt single to load the bases. Jackson took three pitches well out of the strike zone before crushing a 3-1 pitch deep into foul territory.
"I just wanted to put the ball in the air, put it in play, and get the run in," he said. "[Tenuta] threw a fastball right down the middle and I saw it really well. I thought, 'If he does that again, I'm going to do some damage.' I stepped out and took a deep breath. I was like, 'Just battle, we got to win this.'"
Jackson collected nine homers in 98 games across three levels this season.
Errol Robinson, the No. 29 Dodgers prospect, singled twice and drove in two runs, 30th-ranked Matt Beaty contributed a two-run homer for Tulsa.
Game 3 of the series is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. ET on Friday night at ONEOK Field in Tulsa.
In other TL playoff action:
Missions 4, RockHounds 3
Third-ranked Padres prospect Luis Urias delivered two hits, including an RBI single in the fourth inning that proved to be the difference as San Antonio staved off Midland's comeback to even the best-of-5 series at one game apiece. Franmil Reyes and Noah Perio both went 2-for-4 with a run scored. After driving in career-high eight runs in Game 1 on Wednesday, Viosergy Rosa belted his third homer of the season and a double in four at-bats for Midland. Box score