SPRINGFIELD, MO – For a pitcher making his debut for a new team at a new level, it is difficult to imagine a better scenario than what Landon Knack experienced Thursday night. Knack was making his Double-A debut for the Tulsa Drillers at Springfield’s Hammons Field. Before the right-hander ever
SPRINGFIELD, MO – For a pitcher making his debut for a new team at a new level, it is difficult to imagine a better scenario than what Landon Knack experienced Thursday night. Knack was making his Double-A debut for the Tulsa Drillers at Springfield’s Hammons Field. Before the right-hander ever took the mound, his Tulsa teammates staked him to a big lead with five runs in the top of the first inning. Knack took advantage of the early cushion, allowing just one hit in five scoreless innings to get the win in Tulsa’s 10-0 victory over the Cardinals.
Tulsa’s big first inning got started when leadoff batter James Outman hit the third pitch of the game over the left-field fence for his fourth Double-A home run.
After the homer, things only got worse for the Cardinals. Michael Busch singled, moved to second on a wild pitch and to third when the Redbirds failed to record an out on a ground ball to the left side of the infield by Miguel Vargas. After Devin Mann singled home Busch, a passed ball put the Tulsa runners at second and third. Vargas scored the third run an infield ground out, and Mann came home on an error.
Justin Yurchak capped the frame with a run-scoring single that gave the Drillers and Knack a 5-0 lead.
Stevie Berman upped the lead to six runs with a long home run in the fourth that easily cleared the left field fence.
Vargas matched Berman in the fourth with his ninth Double-A homer. The solo shot put Tulsa in front 7-0.
The seven runs were more than enough for Knack who was impressive in his first start in Double-A. Only an error in the second inning kept the East Tennessee State University product from opening the game with three perfect innings.
Knack did not allow a hit until Ivan Herrera’s two-out single in the fourth.
He worked five complete innings, allowing just the one hit and one walk while striking out six and registering as high as 100 m.p.h. on the stadium radar gun. He threw a total of 72 pitches, 49 for strikes.
Offensively, the Drillers continued to add runs. In the eighth, Yurchak doubled and eventually scored on Springfield’s second defensive error of the game. A bases-loaded walk later in the inning forced in Tulsa’s ninth run.
Yurchak put the Drillers in double figures in runs for the second straight game when he hit his first Double-A homer in the ninth to cap a three-hit night.
Knack was not the only Tulsa pitcher with an impressive outing. Mark Washington followed him to the mound and kept the shutout with two scoreless frames, giving up only one hit and one walk.
Lefthander Austin Drury pitched around a pair of Cards’ hits to work a scoreless eighth, and Cyrillo Watson closed it out with a scoreless ninth.
The Cardinals were held to just four hits in the game.
*It was only the third shutout of the season for the Tulsa pitching staff.
*Yurchak has produced three hits in two straight games. Since joining the Drillers on Sunday, he is hitting .375 (6-16) with five runs batted in in four games.
*For Washington, it was his third straight scoreless outing. He has worked two innings in each of the games, surrendering a total of only three hits in the six innings.
*Outman has now reached base in all 12 games he has played for the Drillers. He has hits in ten of those games. Including his last three games with Great Lakes, Outman has now reached base safely in 15 straight games.
*The home run from Vargas was his 8th since joining the Drillers and his 15th overall this season. He hit 7 for Class-A Great Lakes before his promotion to Tulsa on June 16.
*The homer from Berman was his first since July 30, 2019 when he homered for the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes.
*Springfield cleanup hitter Luken Baker left the game in the bottom of the second inning after suffering an apparent injury on a checked swing. Baker has hit 23 home runs this year.
The Drillers will continue to see the St. Louis Cardinals pitching staff on Friday night when Redbirds’ ace Jack Flaherty is expected to make the start on the mound for Springfield. Flaherty, who is recovering from an oblique strain, is expected to throw approximately 75 pitches. It will be the third St. Louis pitcher the Drillers have faced this series as big leaguers Miles Mikolas and Daniel Ponce de Leon both took the mound in Tuesday’s series opener.
Tulsa at Springfield on Friday, August 6 at 7:05 p.m. at Hammons Field in Springfield, MO. The pitching matchup will be Tulsa RHP Michael Grove (0-4, 9.30 ERA) versus St. Louis Cardinals RHP Jack Flaherty (8-1, 2.90 ERA for St. Louis).