TULSA – For the third straight game Thursday night, the Tulsa Drillers spotted Northwest Arkansas an early lead, and for the third straight game they rallied for a victory. The Naturals opened Thursday’s game with two first-inning runs, but the Drillers scored the next six runs to post a 6-3
TULSA – For the third straight game Thursday night, the Tulsa Drillers spotted Northwest Arkansas an early lead, and for the third straight game they rallied for a victory. The Naturals opened Thursday’s game with two first-inning runs, but the Drillers scored the next six runs to post a 6-3 win.
In their now three-game winning streak, the Drillers have overcome a five-run deficit and a pair of two-run deficits. Tulsa’s season record now stands at 37-32, the third-best mark in the Double-A Central. Only the two teams with the two best records will qualify for the league playoffs.
Naturals’ first baseman Vinnie Pasquantino, who just made his Double-A debut in the series opener on Tuesday, continued to torment the Drillers. Pasquantino’s two-run homer off Tulsa starting pitcher Gus Varland cleared the ballpark’s perimeter fencing and landed on Elgin Avenue to give Northwest Arkansas the 2-0 first-inning lead.
The Drillers got one of the runs back in the second as Donovan Casey and Ryan Noda opened the inning with consecutive singles. A sacrifice fly from Devin Mann gave Tulsa its first run of the game.
Noda tied the game when he led off the fourth inning with his team-leading 13th home run of the season.
The Drillers went in front to stay with three more runs in the sixth. What proved to be the game-winning rally began when Miguel Vargas worked a leadoff walk. After a wild pitch, Casey brought him home with a double down the right field line.
After a base hit by Noda put runners at the corners, consecutive one-out RBI singles from Romer Cuadrado and Stevie Berman gave Tulsa a 5-2 lead.
In the seventh, Michael Busch singled and scored on a Casey’s third hit of the night to make it 6-2.
It was more than enough offense for Andre Jackson. The right-hander came into the game to start the second inning after Gus Varland served as an opener in the top of the first. Jackson allowed just three hits and one walk in five scoreless innings.
Zach Willeman followed with two shutout frames, before Aaron Ochsenbein was tagged for an unearned run in the ninth.
*Outfielder James Outman was added to the Drillers roster on Thursday. He replaces Carlos Rincon who was traded Wednesday by the Dodgers to the New York Mets. Outman, who did not play in the game, was hitting .250 on the season with 9 homers and 30 RBI for Great Lakes. He has been swinging a hot bat in July, hitting .314 in the month with 6 of his homers and 13 of his RBI.
*For Casey, it was the seventh time this season that he has had at least three hits in a game. He finished 3-4 with two runs batted in.
*Noda joined Casey with three hits in the game as the duo combined for six of Tulsa’s ten hits. Noda has now hit safely in four of his last five games.
*Jackson got the win to improve his record to 3-2. It was his first victory since June 3.
*Pasquantino is having no problem adjusting to Double-A pitching. Since his promotion by the Kansas City Royals, he has hit safely in all four games with the Naturals, going 7-14 with 2 homers.
NW Arkansas at Tulsa on Friday, July 23 at 7:05 PM at ONEOK Field.
The pitching matchup will be NW Arkansas RHP Yefri Del Rosario (1-0, 5.60 ERA) against Tulsa RHP Bryan Brickhouse (1-2, 3.08 ERA)