Big Night from Lewis Gives Drillers Doubleheader Split
TULSA, OK – Due to a rainout the previous night, the Tulsa Drillers and the Northwest Arkansas Naturals played a doubleheader on Friday at ONEOK Field. The two games followed similar scripts, but produced two different results. In the first game, the Naturals took a first-inning lead and never trailed
TULSA, OK – Due to a rainout the previous night, the Tulsa Drillers and the Northwest Arkansas Naturals played a doubleheader on Friday at ONEOK Field. The two games followed similar scripts, but produced two different results.
In the first game, the Naturals took a first-inning lead and never trailed in posting a 5-3 win. In the nightcap, it was the Drillers who struck for four runs in the first frame and never relinquished the lead in gaining a split of the doubleheader with a 12-1 victory.
The star of the night for the Drillers was Brandon Lewis. Lewis homered in game one, then added two more in the second game. He finished the night with five total hits, including the three homers, and seven runs batted in. He now has 22 home runs on the season.
In the opener, the Naturals Tucker Bradley walked to lead off the game and scored the first run on a double from Tyler Gentry.
The Naturals upped their lead to 4-0 with three more runs against Tulsa starter John Rooney in the third. The big blow was a two-run homer from Diego Hernandez.
The Drillers cut the deficit in half in the bottom of the third. The first run came when Leonel Valera tripled home Justin Yurchak who had walked. Valera scored on a groundout from Ryan Ward, making it a 4-2 game.
Bradley homered for the Naturals in the top of the fourth, and Lewis homered for the Drillers in the bottom half of the inning.
It would be the final offensive production of the opener, as neither bullpen allowed a run.
In their game two victory, the Drillers big start began when leadoff hitter Valera singled on the first pitch from Northwest Arkansas starter T.J. Sikkema. Buddy Reed followed with another hit, but the inning appeared to be short-circuited when Andy Pages grounded into a double play.
Tulsa caught a break when Yurchak’s grounder, that should have ended the inning, was misplayed for an error. The Drillers capitalized as Kody Hoese singled to plate the game’s first run. They capitalized even further on the next pitch from Sikkema when Lewis belted his second home run of the night. The three-run homer staked the Drillers to a 4-0 lead.
Tulsa blew the game open with a six-run third inning, and all six runs came with two outs. Lewis got it started with a two-run homer, his third of the night. Kenneth Betancourt doubled home the third run before Valera capped things with a three-run homer, his tenth with the Drillers and his 15th of the season.
The final two runs from the Drillers came in the sixth inning on RBI-singles from Valera and Hoese.
HIGHLIGHTS AND HAPPENINGS:
*Valera enjoyed a big offensive night, going a perfect 3-3 in game two a combined 4-7 in the doubleheader, scoring 3 runs and driving in 3.
*Yurchak walked twice and was officially 0-2 in the second game, ending his 11-game hitting streak. Since July 1, Yurchak has had a 14-game hitting streak, an 8-game streak and the 11-game streak. In that time, he has hit safely in 36 of 42 games with a .344 average.
*Landon Knack started on the mound in the second game for the Drillers. He did not work the required five innings to qualify for the win, but he turned in an impressive outing. The right-hander worked three scoreless innings, allowing three hits and getting strikeouts on six of the nine outs he recorded.
*Gus Varland followed Knack to the mound and was credited with the win after working a scoreless fourth inning. The victory improved his record to 3-4.
*Alec Gamboa followed Varland and did not allow a hit in two scoreless frames. The Naturals avoided the shutout with a run against Cole Percival in the seventh and final inning.
*Reliever Tanner Dodson extended his streak of not allowing an earned run to seven straight game with two shutout innings in the first game. Since returning from a stay on the Development List, Dodson has not allowed an earned run in 9.1 innings pitched.
*_The Drillers and the Naturals will meet again on Saturday night in the fifth game of their six-game series. Starting time is set for 7:05 p.m. at ONEOK Field and the starting pitchers are scheduled to be:
NW Arkansas – RHP Jonathan Bowlan (1-2, 6.48 ERA)
Tulsa – LHP Lael Lockhart (1-1, 4.95 ERA)