SPRINGDALE, AR - The Tulsa Drillers opened a four-game series at Northwest Arkansas Thursday night by snapping a two-game losing streak. The Drillers got a strong performance on the mound from Logan Bawcom and, offensively, got three runs batted in from Drew Avans to post a 5-2 win at Arvest Ballpark.
For the second time this week, the Drillers used a relief pitcher as an opener to start the game. Lefthander Victor Gonzalez began the game with 1.2 scoreless innings before giving way to Bawcom. The right-hander was outstanding, working 6.1 innings in relief to claim the win.
Tulsa opened the game's scoring in the top of the second inning when the red-hot Cristian Santana led off with a double and scored on a two-out single by Avans.
The Naturals got their only run against Bawcom in the third when Khalil Lee singled in Nick Heath who had doubled.
The Drillers took the lead for good with single runs in the fifth and sixth innings. In the fifth, Logan Landon and Zach McKinstry singled to put runners at first and third. Omar Estevez brought Landon home with a sacrifice fly to put Tulsa back in front.
In the sixth, Cody Thomas belted his Texas League-leading 14th home run of the season to make it a 3-1 lead.
Avans and the Drillers closed out their scoring in the top of the eighth. Keibert Ruiz and Angelo Mora both singled, then came home on a two-out double from Avans to increase the margin to 5-1.
Jordan Sheffield labored through the bottom of the ninth. He surrendered a run on two hits and two walks and found himself in a bases-loaded one-out jam. But, Sheffield recovered to strike out pinch-hitter Gabriel Cancel for the second out, then retired Angelo Castellano on a liner into the left field corner that was tracked down by Avans to end the game.
WHAT YOU MISSED
*Santana's second-inning double extended his hitting streak to 12 straight games, one game short of Carlos Rincon's team high for the season.
*Thomas also starred in the field for the Drillers. In the fifth, with Tulsa leading 2-1, Nick Heath doubled with two outs, and D.J. Burt followed with a base hit to right field. Thomas fielded the hit and fired a throw home to catcher Ruiz who tagged out Heath to keep the lead intact.
*McKinstry, batting in the leadoff spot, had his second straight 3-hit game, going 3-5. Avans and Estevez had 2 hits each.
*Bawcom allowed the 1 run on 6 hits in his 6.1 innings of work. He did not walk a batter while striking out 6. The victory was his first this year at any level.
*Pitcher Brady Singer, who is the top rated prospect in the Kansas City Royals minor league system, suffered the loss, just his third this season and first at the Double-A level. Singer pitched effectively, allowing three runs on eight hits in seven innings. The 2018 number one draft pick out of the University of Florida recorded seven strikeouts.
UP NEXT: Tulsa at Northwest Arkansas, Friday, July 12, at 7:05 PM at Arvest Ballpark in Springdale, AR. RHP Justin De Fratus (5-4, 4.50 ERA) versus RHP Gerson Garabito (4-6, 4.38 ERA).
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.