TULSA, OK – The second half of the 2022 Texas League season got underway Tuesday night at ONEOK Field, and it began positively for the Tulsa Drillers but only briefly. The Drillers took an early three-run lead before the Arkansas Travelers scored 13 straight runs and posted a 14-5 victory
TULSA, OK – The second half of the 2022 Texas League season got underway Tuesday night at ONEOK Field, and it began positively for the Tulsa Drillers but only briefly. The Drillers took an early three-run lead before the Arkansas Travelers scored 13 straight runs and posted a 14-5 victory over the Drillers.
It was the first meeting of the season between the two teams, but the first of 18 games they will play against each other in the second half.
Tulsa took an early 3-0 lead with a three-run second inning. Hunter Feduccia drew a leadoff walk and Carson Taylor followed with a base hit, but the two were still at first and second with two outs. Brandon Lewis came through with a double that scored both Feduccia and Taylor, and Leonel Valera then plated Lewis with a base hit.
Tulsa starting pitcher Bobby Miller held the Travelers without a hit through the first two innings, but he surrendered three straight singles to open the third. With the bases loaded, Arkansas scored its first run on a double play grounder.
Ryan Ward got the run back on the first pitch in the bottom of the third when he hit his 15th homer of the season.
The Arkansas rally began with three runs in the fourth that tied the game at 4-4. Jake Scheiner drew a leadoff walk from Miller before scoring on Zach DeLoach’s double. Two pitches later, Cade Marlowe’s base hit scored DeLoach. After Marlowe stole second base, Jake Anchia brought him home with the third hit of the inning.
Miller got the first two outs in the top of the fifth inning before hitting a batter and walking another. With runners at first and second, Gus Varland replaced Miller and walked the first two batters he faced to give the Travs the go-ahead run without putting a ball into play.
Arkansas continued its offensive production in the sixth when Connor Hoover drew a leadoff walk, advanced to second on a wild pitch from Varland and scored on a base hit by Kaden Polcovich to make it a two-run game.
Any hope for a Tulsa comeback disappeared with a four-run seventh inning from the Travelers that upped the lead to 10-4. Three hits, two errors and a walk accounted for the four runs.
Things went from bad to worse in the ninth when five walks and a hit batter gave Arkansas four more runs without a base hit.
The lone bright spots over the last innings for the Drillers came from new relief pitcher Kevin Malisheski and first baseman Justin Yurchak. Making his Double-A debut, Malisheski allowed just one hit in two scoreless innings of work. Yurchak accounted for the game’s final run with a solo homer in the bottom of the ninth.
Yurchak’s homer was one of only two hits the Drillers had over the game’s final six innings.
HIGHLIGHTS AND HAPPENINGS:
*Infielder Abiatal Avelino came on to pitch in the top of the ninth, retiring both hitters he faced to end the inning.
*Drillers pitchers issued a season high 13 walks in the loss, the most in a game for Tulsa in nearly 30 years. Pitchers issued 15 walks in an 8-6 loss to El Paso on July 27, 1994 at old Drillers Stadium.
*The Drillers added Malisheski to the roster prior to the start of the game, replacing Jose Adames who was transferred to Oklahoma City on Monday. Malisheski spent two days in Oklahoma City, but he did not appear in a game for the Dodgers. The right-hander has spent most of the season at Great Lakes, going 1-0 with a 4.09 ERA in 15 games with the Loons.
*With their first-half title, the Drillers have clinched a spot in the 2022 Texas League Playoffs. Both division series and the Texas League Championship Series will all be best-of-three games formats. The Drillers will host game two of the North Division series, and if necessary, game three. If they advance to the TLCS, the Drillers would again own home-field advantage by hosting game two of that series and a possible title deciding third game. The Drillers have never won a Texas League championship on their home field with all four previous titles be claimed on the road.
The Drillers and Travelers will play the second game of their six-game series on Wednesday night at ONEOK Field. Starting time is set for 7:05 p.m. and the pitching matchup is expected to be:
Arkansas – RHP Taylor Dollard (6-2, 0.82 ERA)
Tulsa – RHP Clayton Beeter (0-2, 4.10 ERA)