TULSA – The Tulsa Drillers and Midland RockHounds met for the first time this season Tuesday night at ONEOK Field. The two teams entered the game with nearly identical records with the Drillers having won just one more game than the RockHounds. Tuesday’s opener showed just how close the two
TULSA – The Tulsa Drillers and Midland RockHounds met for the first time this season Tuesday night at ONEOK Field. The two teams entered the game with nearly identical records with the Drillers having won just one more game than the RockHounds. Tuesday’s opener showed just how close the two teams are as they traded runs through much of the game, but the Drillers scored the final three runs to gain a 7-4 win.
The result leaves Tulsa with a 39-34 season record, while Midland fell to 37-35. The current six-game series is important as the two teams vie for one of the two best records in the Double-A Central and a spot in the postseason.
Midland’s Max Schuemann opened the game’s scoring with a solo home run in the top of the third off Ryan Pepiot.
The Drillers answered with two runs in the bottom half of the third. With one out, three straight singles from Miguel Vargas, Donovan Casey and James Outman tied the game. Romer Cuadrado followed with a sacrifice fly to put Tulsa in front 2-1.
Another solo home run from the RockHounds tied the score when Logan Davidson led off the fourth with his fifth long ball of the year.
The scoring continued into the bottom of the fourth. Hunter Feduccia led off and dropped a base hit down the left field line and moved to second when Midland leftfielder Devin Foyle mishandled the hit. After Clayton Daniel advanced Feduccia with a ground out to the right side of the infield, Jacob Amaya brought him home with a sacrifice fly that put Tulsa in front 3-2.
In the fifth, the Drillers loaded the bases on another hit by Casey and a pair of walks. Ryan Noda delivered the third sacrifice fly of the game to bring Casey home and increase the lead to 4-2.
Midland used its third home run of the game to tie the score again in the sixth. Pepiot quickly retired the first two hitters of the inning before just missing with a 0-2 pitch to Jonah Bride. Bride singled on the next offering to extend the inning and bring J.J. Schwarz to the plate. Schwarz belted his fourth homer of the season to tie the score at 4-4.
The Drillers went in front to stay with another run in the bottom of the sixth. Jacob Amaya doubled and eventually scored when Casey dropped a hit down the right field line.
Noda upped the margin to 6-4 with his team-leading 15th home run of the season to lead off the seventh.
Tulsa added a final run in the eighth inning. Vargas singled, moved to second on a balk and scored on base hit by Cuadrado.
Reliever Aaron Ochsenbein set the RockHounds down in order in both the eighth and ninth innings to record his team-leading fourth save of the year.
Justin Hagenman followed Pepiot to the mound and worked 1.1 scoreless innings to record the win that improved his record to 6-3. The six wins lead the Tulsa staff and are tied for the most in the Double-A Central.
*The Drillers totaled 16 hits in the game, just two short of their season high which was set in their last game, a 23-8 win over Northwest Arkansas Sunday afternoon. In the two wins, Tulsa hitters are batting a combined .436.
*The Drillers scored in each of the last six innings.
*Casey had a busy night in the field and at the plate. In the top of the first inning, the centerfielder recorded all three putouts. In his first four at-bats in the game, he singled four times on only nine pitches. It was his second four-hit game of the season.
*Gus Varland served as an opener in the game for Pepiot and worked a scoreless first inning, only issuing a two-out walk.
*Pepiot pitched effectively but was hampered by the three home runs allowed. His final line was 4.2 innings pitched with four runs allowed on four hits. Pepiot entered the game having only surrendered four home runs on the season.
*Eight of Tulsa’s nine position starters had at least one hit in the game. In addition to Casey’s big night, Vargas and Feduccia had three hits each.
Midland at Tulsa on Wednesday, July 28 at 7:05 PM at ONEOK Field.
The pitching matchup will feature a piggy back combo of Midland RHP Bryce Conley (5-4, 3.65 ERA) & RHP Matt Millburn (1-1, 3.46 ERA) against Tulsa RHP Andre Jackson (3-2, 3.36 ERA).