Drillers Overcome Five-Run Deficit in Walk-Off Victory
TULSA, OK – The opening game of a six-game series between the Tulsa Drillers and Northwest Arkansas on Tuesday night at ONEOK Field featured outstanding performances from the two starting pitchers. Neither Tulsa’s Emmet Sheehan nor Northwest Arkansas’ Jonathan Bowlen allowed a run in a pair of impressive outings. Both
TULSA, OK – The opening game of a six-game series between the Tulsa Drillers and Northwest Arkansas on Tuesday night at ONEOK Field featured outstanding performances from the two starting pitchers. Neither Tulsa’s Emmet Sheehan nor Northwest Arkansas’ Jonathan Bowlen allowed a run in a pair of impressive outings.
Both bullpens worked to keep the game scoreless through the sixth inning to set up an interesting finish when both team’s offenses came to life. The Naturals struck first, scoring five times in the seventh and eighth innings, but the Drillers rallied with five runs in the bottom half of the eighth to force the game into extra innings.
The score remained tied until Eddys Leonard’s double drove home the winning run in the bottom of the eleventh inning to give the Drillers a 6-5, walk-off victory.
Sheehan and Bowlen were the early story of the opener. Sheehan did not allow a hit or a run in four dominant innings while walking three batters and striking out nine.
Bowlen was also impressive, scattering four hits over five shutout innings. He walked one Tulsa batter and struck out five.
The game’s first run did not score until both had departed the game, and it came from the Naturals in the top of the seventh inning when Jake Means led off with a home run against Tulsa reliever John Rooney.
The Naturals increased their lead to 3-0 later in the seventh when Parker Bates doubled in front of Tyler Tolbert’s first home run of the season.
Northwest Arkansas struck again in the eighth inning as Jimmy Govern singled with the bases loaded to bring home two more runs and up the margin to 5-0.
The Drillers’ bats finally awakened in the bottom of the eighth s they sent ten batters to the plate and scored five times to tie the game.
Tulsa’s big inning began Jose Ramos drew a leadoff walk and Imanol Vargas singled. Yusniel Diaz followed with another hit, plating Ramos with the Drillers first run. After another walk, Carson Taylor dropped a base hit into centerfield to bring home another run.
Following a double play that scored the scored the third run of the inning, a hit batter and a walk again loaded the bases. Leonard then hit a sinking liner that deflected off the glove of a sliding Govern in shallow left-center field, allowing two more runs to score and tie the game at 5-5.
Neither team could score the placed runner in the tenth inning, and Tulsa’s Ryan Sublette kept the Naturals scoreless in the top of the eleventh to set up Leonard’s winner.
With Jorbit Vivas placed at second, Leonard ended the game when Govern could not track down his liner, completing the Drillers comeback.
HIGHLIGHTS AND HAPPENINGS:
*Sheehan now has 67 strikeouts in 38 innings pitched. He is holding opposing batters to a .115 average.
*The win improved Tulsa’s record at ONEOK Field this season to 17-5 (.772), the best home record in the Texas League.
*Leonard finished the game 3-6 with three runs batted in. Taylor also had three hits for the Drillers.
*Tulsa pitchers combined for 16 strikeouts.
*_The Drillers and the Naturals will play the second game of their six-game series on Wednesday night. Starting time is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. and the starting pitchers are scheduled to be:
NWA – LHP Noah Cameron (2-2, 3.60 at Class High A Quad Cities)
TUL – RHP Landon Knack (1-0, 1.59 ERA)