TULSA – If anyone came out to ONEOK Field Sunday afternoon hoping for a pitcher’s duel, they returned home disappointed. In the final game of a six-game series, the Tulsa Drillers spotted Northwest Arkansas a five-run lead before rallying with a seven-run inning and a six-run inning. And, it all
TULSA – If anyone came out to ONEOK Field Sunday afternoon hoping for a pitcher’s duel, they returned home disappointed. In the final game of a six-game series, the Tulsa Drillers spotted Northwest Arkansas a five-run lead before rallying with a seven-run inning and a six-run inning. And, it all occurred in the first three innings of the game. The end result was a record-breaking 23-8 win for the Drillers that gave them a four games to two series victory over the Naturals.
Some of the offensive numbers from the game looked as if it were played on a video console instead of at ONEOK Field.
- The 23 runs were not only the most ever scored by the Drillers at ONEOK Field, they were the most in franchise history. The previous mark was 22 runs for the Drillers on July 29, 1990 in a 22-5 win at Wichita.
- The 31 total runs from the two teams were the second-most for a game at ONEOK Field.
- Eight RBI from Miguel Vargas were just one short of a franchise record.
- The 23 runs scored were just eight short of the Tulsa all-time professional baseball record. The old Tulsa Oilers scored 31 runs in a game against Dallas in 1949.
The craziness started quickly when the Naturals seemed to have put the Drillers in an insurmountable hole in the top of the first inning, scoring five runs after there were two outs. Brewer Hicklen singled home two runs, and Blake Perkins followed with a three-run homer to promptly give the Naturals a 5-0 lead.
James Outman got one run back when he led off the bottom of the first with his first home run at the Double-A level.
Tulsa starting pitcher Michael Grove held the Naturals scoreless in the top of the second, and the Drillers plated seven runs in the bottom of the inning to go in front.
A long, two-run homer from Romer Cuadrado that traveled 453 feet pulled the Drillers to within two runs.
Following the home run, Tulsa loaded the bases with two outs thanks to a pair of hits and a hit batter. Reliever Stephen Wood Jr. entered the game for the Naturals and walked the first two batters he faced to force home two runs and tie the game at 5-5.
Ryan Noda cleared the bases with a three-run double before an error brought in the seventh run of the inning and gave the Drillers an 8-5 lead.
It only got worse for Naturals’ pitchers as Tulsa tacked on six more runs in the third inning. Michael Busch drew a bases-loaded walk to bring home the first run before Miguel Vargas followed with the second three-run double of the game to make it 12-5.
Donovan Casey doubled home another run, and Hunter Feduccia plated one with an infield ground out.
Tulsa’s 15th run of the game scored on a RBI single by Feduccia in the fifth inning.
It was more of the same in the sixth inning. Busch and Vargas had consecutive run-scoring hits before Noda delivered a third that rewrote the ONEOK Field history book. Busch came home with Tulsa’s 18th run on Noda’s hit, breaking the record for the most runs by the Drillers in a game at ONEOK Field.
But they were not finished. In the bottom of the eighth, with infielder Bewley now on the mound for Northwest Arkansas, Vargas belted a three-run homer and Noda hit a two-run shot to give the Drillers a record-breaking 23 runs scored.
*In a day with incredible offensive numbers, the Tulsa bullpen was outstanding. Relievers Austin Drury, Cyrillo Watson and Jordan Martinson combined to work the final 5.1 innings of the game, allowing just one run on three hits. Drury was credited with the win to improve his record to 2-1.
*Eight of Tulsa’s nine position starters had at least one hit and eight others scored at least one run. Outman, Vargas and Noda had three hits each while Outman, Busch and Vargas, the 1-3 hitters in the lineup, each scored four runs.
*Tulsa had a five-run inning, a six-run inning and a seven-run inning in the game.
Midland at Tulsa on Tuesday, July 27 at 7:05 PM at ONEOK Field.
The Drillers will begin a six-game set with the Midland RockHounds (Oakland A’s) on Tuesday.
The opener will feature one of the best pitching matchups of the season with Midland LHP Jared Koenig (5-1, 2.37 ERA) against Tulsa RHP Ryan Pepiot (3-4, 2.45 ERA).