TULSA, OK – The Tulsa Drillers entered Wednesday night’s meeting with Amarillo having scored 18 runs in five games. They nearly matched that total in the first five innings against the Sod Poodles. The Drillers scored 13 times in their first five at-bats and kept the Sod Poodles off the
TULSA, OK – The Tulsa Drillers entered Wednesday night’s meeting with Amarillo having scored 18 runs in five games. They nearly matched that total in the first five innings against the Sod Poodles. The Drillers scored 13 times in their first five at-bats and kept the Sod Poodles off the scoreboard over the final three innings to hold on for a 13-11 win at ONEOK Field.
Much of the offense for Tulsa came from the bat of Michael Busch. Busch belted his first two home runs of the season, including a grand slam, and finished the game with six runs batted in.
Justin Yurchak, Carson Taylor and Jeren Kendall contributed three hits each.
The offensive display began early with the Drillers scoring in each of the first two innings.
In the top of the first, they scored three times after there were two outs. James Outman drew a leadoff walk and eventually scored the game’s first run on a two-out base hit by Yurchak. Brandon Lewis followed with a double on a drive to deep center that Amarillo centerfielder Dominic Fletcher could not track down, plating a second run. Taylor singled home Lewis to cap the three-run opening.
Jacob Amaya walked and Kendall singled to open the bottom of the second. After a passed ball, Amaya came home on a sacrifice fly from Outman. The Drillers got another big, two-out hit from Andy Pages when he doubled home Kendall to up Tulsa’s lead to 5-0.
Amarillo erased the lead and then some in the top of the fourth inning, scoring seven runs. The big inning included a pair of errors from the Drillers and a rare cycle from the Sod Poodles. The four hits in the inning were a single by Nick Dalesandro, a double by Eduardo Diaz, a triple by Ti’Quan Forbes and a home run by Corbin Carroll.
It took just two batters into the bottom of the fourth for Tulsa to tie the game. Outman led off with a double and Busch followed with his first home run of the year.
The Sod Poodles took an 8-7 lead with a run in the top half of the fifth, but the Drillers answered with six runs in the bottom half of the inning to move back in front. The big blow was the grand slam from Busch, his second home run of the game. RBI doubles by Yurchak and Taylor accounted for the other two runs.
Amarillo hit double figures on the scoreboard with three more runs in the sixth that trimmed Tulsa’s lead to 13-11. Reliever Jose Martinez retired the first two batters of the inning before a pair of walks and a base hit loaded the bases. Fletcher, a University of Arkansas product, cleared them with a three-run double that cut the Tulsa lead to 13-11.
It would prove to be the final runs of the night as Martinez and Mark Washington combined to stop Amarillo’s offensive output, blanking the Poodles over the final three frames. Washington worked the final two innings, allowing just one hit, to collect his first save of the season.
HIGHLIGHTS AND HAPPENINGS:
*Tulsa starting pitcher Michael Grove had a better season debut than what the score would imply. Grove opened the game with three scoreless innings before a pair of errors resulted in him being charged with four runs in the fourth, but only one was earned. He allowed 3 hits in 3.2 total innings while striking out 4.
*Outman finished 2-3 and has now hit safely in all five games this season, the only Drillers player to do so.
*Amarillo hurlers threw five wild pitches in the game.
*The Drillers set a season high with their 13 runs and also had a season-best 15 hits. As a team, they raised their season batting average 38 points, going from .213 up to .251.
*Fletcher is now 4-9 with six RBI for the Sod Poodles in the first two games of the series.
The Drillers and Sod Poodles will continue their six-game series with game three Thursday evening. Starting time at ONEOK Field is again scheduled for 7:05 p.m. The pitching matchup will be:
Amarillo – RHP Drey Jameson (0-1, 21.60 ERA)
Tulsa – RHP Gus Varland (0-0, 0.00 ERA)