Big Offensive Night Fuels Drillers Win at Frisco
FRISCO, TX – Offensive production has been up and down for the Tulsa Drillers during their series this week in Frisco. After scoring 11 runs in a game one win, Tulsa had been held to a combined 3 runs in two straight losses. For the fourth game of the series
FRISCO, TX – Offensive production has been up and down for the Tulsa Drillers during their series this week in Frisco. After scoring 11 runs in a game one win, Tulsa had been held to a combined 3 runs in two straight losses.
For the fourth game of the series on Friday night, the bats came back to life as the Drillers produced a six-run inning, a five-run inning and a three-run frame to again reach double figures in runs and post a 14-2 victory over the RoughRiders.
The two teams have now split the first four games of their six-game series at Riders Field.
A large portion of Tulsa’s offense came from the bat of Leonel Valera. The shortstop finished 3-6 and drove in five runs. He now has nine RBI in the series.
Pitching was the story in the early portion of the game as starters Lael Lockhart and Mason Englert were both dominant through the first four innings. Frisco had one hit and a walk for just two base runners in its first four at-bats against Lockhart, while Tulsa had just one hit for a single base runner against Englert.
A bout of wildness from the Frisco right-hander helped the Drillers produce the game’s first offense with their three runs in the fifth. Andy Pages led off the inning with a base hit, but he was still at first base with two outs. Englert, who was making just his second Double-A start, uncharacteristically walked the next two batters to load the bases before committing a balk that allowed Pages to come home with the game’s first run.
With runners still at second and third, Leonel Valera lined a double into the left field corner that scored both and gave Tulsa a 3-0 lead.
A walk in the bottom of the fifth also led to Frisco’s first run in the game. Staked to the three-run lead, Lockhart walked the inning’s leadoff batter. After a one-out single put runners at first and second, the Tulsa lefthander got his fifth strikeout of the game for the inning’s second out.
At that point, manager Scott Hennessey called on Guillermo Zuniga from the bullpen, and he surrendered a soft liner off the bat of Jonathan Ornelas that dropped into shallow centerfield for a run-scoring hit. Zuniga then got grounder from Kellen Strahm that ended the inning with the Drillers leading 3-1.
Tulsa put the game away with its six-run outburst in the seventh inning. The first three batters of the inning reached safely against reliever Kevin Gowdy on two walks and hit. After a run-scoring ground out from Valera made it 4-1, Tulsa got two-run singles from Justin Yurchak and Andy Pages. Kody Hoese capped the big inning and made it 9-1 with an RBI single.
After Frisco scored an unearned run in the bottom of the eighth, Ryan Ward doubled and scored in the ninth for Tulsa, before Kenneth Betancourt and Jeren Kendall added run-scoring hits.
Valera capped his big night with a two-run single to close out Tulsa’s big offensive night.
HIGHLIGHTS AND HAPPENINGS:
*Tulsa totaled 15 hits in the game with Valera, Pages and Kendall getting three hits each.
*It was a good and bad night for Lockhart. He was charged with just one run on two hits, but he came one out short of reaching five complete innings and qualifying for the victory. Lockhart was removed after throwing 78 pitches. His top pitch count of the year is 82 pitches which he has reached in three of his past five starts.
*Zuniga worked 1.1 shutout innings to get the win and improve his season record to 4-3.
*Yurchak’s seventh-inning single allowed him to up his on-base streak to 22 consecutive games. Since July 1, Yurchak has hit for a .346 average.
*The Drillers set two franchise records in Thursday’s loss to the RoughRiders. A home run from Valera was the 185th of the season for the Drillers, the most in franchise history, topping the 184 homers hit by the 2018 squad. In addition, Tulsa pitchers combined for 7 strikeouts in the game, giving the Drillers staff a franchise record of 1,242 strikeouts for the year, topping the previous record of 1,240 set by the 2019 staff.
The Drillers will continue their series in Frisco on Saturday night with the fifth game of six against the RoughRiders. Starting time is set for 6:35 p.m. and the starting pitchers are scheduled to be:
Tulsa- RHP Nick Nastrini (1-1, 3.48 ERA)
Frisco- LHP Avery Weems (2-6, 5.22 ERA)