After splitting the first two games of the fresh 2018 season, the Tulsa Drillers matched up with the RoughRiders on an unseasonably cold Saturday night in Frisco, Texas for the third and final game of the series. Starter Justin DeFratus gave the Drillers a dominant six innings and got the win, as he led the Drillers to a 5-0 victory and the series win.
DeFratus' long start gave the Tulsa bullpen a much-needed break in which they worked 12.2 innings in the first two games. The righty made his Drillers debut after coming over from last playing for the Arkansas Travelers last season. He also has some big-league experience having pitched for the Philadelphia Phillies in parts of 2013-15.
On the chilly evening, the Drillers bats were hot all night. Keibert Ruiz singled in a run in the top of the first, then in the next frame Luke Raley doubled home a run to put Tulsa on top 2-0 in the early going.
In the top of the sixth, Angelo Mora and Ruiz started the inning with back-to-back singles. A throwing error by Frisco catcher Josh Morgan allowed Jacob Scavuzzo to reach second, scoring a run. Mike Ahmed then hit a sacrifice fly to give the Drillers a 4-0 lead.
The Drillers tacked on one more in the seventh when Angelo Mora tripled in a run to put Tulsa on top 5-0.
Daniel Corcino relieved DeFratus in the bottom of the seventh and gave Tulsa three more dominant innings to earn the save and seal the 5-0 shutout. The Drillers are now 2-1 on the young season.
WHAT YOU MISSED
*Prior to the game, the Dodgers made a series of roster moves to help out the taxed Drillers bullpen after it was heavily relied on in the first couple of games. Righties Daniel Corcino and Vin Santarsiero joined the Tulsa roster, while Emmanuel De Leon was transferred to Ogden and Wes Darvill was moved to the disabled list.
*In the first two games the Drillers used eight different relievers.
*DeFratus earned the first win in the Drillers starting rotation. He pitched six innings and gave up three hits, while striking out four RoughRiders.
*Right fielder Luke Raley already has a pair of multi-hit games on the season and has hit safely in all three. Tonight, he went 2 for 5 with an RBI and a run scored. He is hitting .357 out of the leadoff spot.
*Keibert Ruiz has also notched a hit in each of the first three games and had an RBI tonight. The Dodgers catching prospect ranked as the third-best prospect in the Los Angeles system, and is a top 100 prospect in all of baseball according to MLB.com.
The Drillers will head to Midland to face the defending champions in a rematch of last year's Texas League Championship Series. The first a three-game set against the RockHounds is scheduled to start at 4:00 p.m. at Security Bank Ballpark. The pitching matchup will be:
TULSA LHP Devin Smeltzer (First start of 2018)
MIDLAND RHP Norge Ruiz (First start of 2018)
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.