TULSA - With the Tulsa Drillers up by a pair of runs headed into the ninth inning Wednesday night at ONEOK Field, the Frisco RoughRiders made things interesting. The Riders trimmed the lead to one run and put runners at the corners with two outs. With the tying run just 90 feet from home, Drillers closer Jordan Sheffield got Andretty Cordero to fly out to deep right field to preserve a 7-6 Tulsa victory. The win improved the Drillers record versus Frisco this season to 7-1.
The nervous ninth inning began with Victor Gonzalez entering the game out of the Drillers bullpen, but after two singles and a sacrifice fly, the RoughRiders had trimmed the Tulsa lead to one. Gonzalez recorded the second out, before turning things over to Sheffield.
The right-hander immediately issued a four-pitch walk to Charles Leblanc that included two wild pitches, putting the tying run on third and the potential go-ahead run on base. After throwing two more pitches out of the strike zone to Cordero, the Frisco third baseman hit a fly ball that right fielder Logan Landon got at the edge of the warning track to end the game.
Playing the role of the opener, Nolan Long got the start on the mound for Tulsa. After escaping trouble in a scoreless first inning, a Drillers error led to three unearned runs against Long in the second. With two outs and a runner at first, Eliezer Alvarez hit a soft ground ball down the first base line. Long ran to the ball and tried to scoop it to first baseman Jared Walker, but Walker failed to catch the gloved throw, putting runners at first and second. Leody Taveras followed with a three-run homer, giving Frisco an early lead.
The Drillers got their first runs of the night in the bottom of the fourth. After Cristian Santana led the inning off with a walk, Keibert Ruiz pushed a deep fly ball into the left field corner for a double, plating Santana. Connor Wong followed with a clean single up the middle for his first Drillers RBI, and cutting the deficit to 3-2.
Tulsa took a brief lead an inning later. After Drew Avans walked, Zach McKinstry doubled to tie things up. A couple of batters later, Santana grounded a single up the middle to give Tulsa a 4-3 lead.
Justin De Fratus replaced Long with two outs in the second inning, and cruised through his first 3.1 innings, but he ran into trouble in the sixth. After two singles and a walk, a bases-loaded walk to Alvarez evened the score.
Frisco took a one-run lead on an exciting play that ended the sixth. With the bases still loaded, Taveras hit a fly ball to centerfield, deep enough for the sacrifice fly. Cody Thomas made the catch and fired to third base, but McKinstry cut the throw off and quickly threw to first, catching Alvarez too far off the base, ending the inning.
In the bottom of the sixth, the Drillers retook the lead by plating three runs. Wong walked to lead off the inning, then four consecutive singles by Walker, Carlos Rincon, Avans and McKinstry gave Tulsa a one-run lead. Omar Estevez capped the big inning with an RBI groundout, giving the Drillers a 7-5 lead.
WHAT YOU MISSED
*De Fratus picked up his sixth win of the season, tying Andre Scrubb for the most on the team.
*Wong stole his first base as a member of the Drillers. He had nine stolen bases with Rancho Cucamonga before coming to Tulsa.
*Santana kept his hot streak going with another hit and RBI. In 17 games since June 30, Santana is hitting .429 with eight extra-base hits and 12 RBI.
*Although he threw only one strike in seven pitches, Sheffield picked up his team-leading fifth save of the season.
UP NEXT: Frisco at Tulsa, Thursday, July 18, 7:05 PM at ONEOK Field. RHP Tyler Phillips (2-7, 6.80 ERA) vs. RHP Jo Jo Gray (First AA Appearance).
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.