WICHITA, KS – Several times this season, the Tulsa Drillers have chalked up a win thanks to a dominant outing from starting pitcher Ryan Pepiot. Thursday night in Wichita, the tables were turned on the Drillers as the Wind Surge rode a strong outing from their starter, Jordan Balazovic, to
WICHITA, KS – Several times this season, the Tulsa Drillers have chalked up a win thanks to a dominant outing from starting pitcher Ryan Pepiot. Thursday night in Wichita, the tables were turned on the Drillers as the Wind Surge rode a strong outing from their starter, Jordan Balazovic, to a 9-0 win over Pepiot and Tulsa at the new Riverfront Stadium.
The start of the game was delayed for 1 hour and 29 minutes as a thunderstorm just west of Riverfront Stadium threatened rain in the downtown Wichita area.
Once it did begin, Balazovic, who is rated as the top pitching prospect in the Minnesota Twins system, held the Drillers without a hit for the first five innings and without a run for seven.
It was an uncharacteristically slow start for Pepiot as Wichita plated a run in the first inning after only three batters. Leadoff hitter Aaron Whitefield singled on a 1-2 count, and Pepiot hit Ernie De La Trinidad with a pitch. The third batter, Roy Morales, dropped a soft base hit into right field to score Whitefield with the game’s first run.
Pepiot settled in and struck out the sides in both the second and third innings while keeping the deficit at 1-0.
In the bottom of the fourth, Pepiot reached his pitch limit when the first three batters reached safely on a base hit and a pair of walks. Jermaine Palacios greeted reliever Zach Willeman with a sacrifice fly for the Wind Surge’s second run. Willeman then had a chance to escape the inning, but he threw a possible inning-ending double play ball wide of second to again load the bases. A run-scoring ground out from Whitefield brought home another run and gave Wichita a 3-0 lead.
Tulsa’s night was summed up with its very first hit. Hunter Feduccia ended Balazovic’s no-hit bid when he led off the sixth inning with a liner off the top of the right field fence, but he was thrown out at second trying to stretch it into a double.
Spencer Steer increased the Wichita lead to 5-0 in the seventh inning with a two-run homer off reliever Mark Washington.
The Wind Surge was only a double away from hitting for the cycle in the bottom of the eighth against Drillers reliever Jordan Martinson, scoring four more runs.
Balazovic’s final line was impressive. The right-hander used 90 pitches to complete his seven shutout innings. He allowed just the one hit and one walk while striking out 11 Tulsa batters.
*The win for Wichita trimmed Tulsa’s lead in the Propeller Series to 8-7. The winner of the season series between the two teams will be presented with the Propeller Trophy by Coors Light.
*Feduccia’s sixth-inning hit extended his hitting streak to nine straight games, just two short of a season high for a Drillers player.
*The loss for Pepiot was his first since June 18 and dropped his season record to 3-3. The right-hander worked 3.0+ innings, surrendering 3 runs on 3 hits and 3 walks while registering 7 strikeouts. In three starts in the month of July, Pepiot has 24 strikeouts in just 14 innings pitched.
*It was the fifth time this season that the Drillers have been shut out. They were held to just two hits, the sixth-inning single by Feduccia and an eighth-inning single by Devin Mann.
Tulsa at Wichita on Friday, July 16 at 7:05 PM at Riverfront Stadium.
The pitching matchup will be Tulsa RHP Andre Jackson (2-2, 3.78 ERA) against Wichita LHP Bryan Sammons (0-3, 6.19 ERA).