SPRINGDALE, AR – The Tulsa Drillers produced one of the biggest offensive game’s in franchise history Thursday night, and it helped them break a two-game losing streak. The offensive number resembled a slow-pitch softball game as the Drillers matched a franchise record with 23 runs thanks in large part to
SPRINGDALE, AR – The Tulsa Drillers produced one of the biggest offensive game’s in franchise history Thursday night, and it helped them break a two-game losing streak. The offensive number resembled a slow-pitch softball game as the Drillers matched a franchise record with 23 runs thanks in large part to a 6-run inning and a 7-run inning. The result was a 23-7 win over Northwest Arkansas at Arvest Ballpark.
The Drillers had 21 hits, their most in a game since the 2011 season. They had five home runs, three triples and three doubles.
Ryan Ward and Leonel Valera accounted for much of the damage. They both homered and drove in four runs each in the victory. Andy Pages had four hits and three runs batted in, and Jonny DeLuca finished with three hits, three runs batted in and four runs scored.
The big night started in the first inning when the Drillers scored the game’s first two runs with help from an error from the Naturals.
It was an early indication of what was to come as the Drillers scored in each of the first five innings and in seven of the nine.
They added two more runs in the second when DeLuca tripled home a run and scored himself on a base hit from Ward.
Justin Yurchak hit his fourth home run of the season to account for the third inning run, and DeLuca hit a solo homer in the fourth to up Tulsa’s run total to six.
Early on, the Naturals matched the Drillers with six runs of their own through the first four innings, but they could not keep up.
Tulsa finally went in front to stay with its seven-run inning in the fifth. A double from Brandon Lewis plated the first run, and Valera tripled home two more. Following a run-scoring hit from Carson Taylor, Abiatal Avelino hit a two-run homer to account for runs five and six. Later in the inning, Pages singled home the seventh run to give the Drillers a 13-6 lead.
After a scoreless sixth inning, the offensive show resumed with six more runs in the top of the seventh. Ward plated the first three with his Double-A leading 27th home run of the year. Following another run-scoring hit from Lewis, Valera struck again with a two-run homer to up the lead to 19-6.
The Drillers matched the franchise record for runs in a game by adding four more in the top of the eighth. DeLuca singled home the first run before a triple from Pages plated two more. The 23rd and record-tying run was scored by Pages when he came home on a base hit from Yurchak.
The Drillers had a chance to set the franchise record for runs when Taylor singled in the top of the ninth inning and was at third base with two outs. A pitched ball escaped the catcher, but Taylor elected to not pad the lopsided score.
Relief pitcher Gus Varland was credited with the game’s win. Varland replaced starter Alec Gamboa in the third inning and allowed one unearned run in 1.2 innings to improve his record to 2-4.
HIGHLIGHTS AND HAPPENINGS:
*The Drillers lost a pair of catchers in the game, and it left them shorthanded in the bottom of the ninth. Starting catcher Ryan January left the game after being hit by a foul tip in the second inning. Taylor replaced him, but he was also injured after being struck with the bat on the follow through of a swing from Seuly Matias. That set up the rare occurrence of a pitcher moving behind the plate to catch. Infielder Avelino was called upon to pitch the ninth inning, but he was forced into emergency catching duty as Tulsa was out of catchers. Avelino worked behind the plate as Keegan Curtis recorded the game’s final two outs.
*DeLuca’s three hits included a single, a triple and a homer as he finished just a double shy of the cycle.
*Now with 27 home runs, Ward is just six behind the franchise record of the 33 homers hit by Tim Wheeler in the 2011 season. Tulsa and Ward have 39 games remaining in the regular season.
*Tulsa used seven pitchers in the game, and Northwest Arkansas used six.
*The Drillers had eight players with at least two hits in the game.
UP NEXT: The Drillers and the Naturals will continue their six-game series with game four on Friday night at Arvest Ballpark. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. The pitching matchup is scheduled to be:
Tulsa – RHP Kyle Hurt (0-2, 9.82 ERA)
NW Arkansas – LHP Anthony Veneziano (5-7, 6.12)