SPRINGDALE, AR - The Tulsa Drillers entered the bottom of the ninth all knotted up at 2-2 against the Northwest Arkansas Naturals on Sunday afternoon. Drillers reliever Luis Vasquez was called upon with no outs in the Naturals half of the ninth to escape a bases loaded jam, but Freddy Fermin poked a single into left to give Northwest Arkansas a 3-2 walkoff victory.
After a perfect inning of relief, Jordan Sheffield went out for the ninth to keep the tie intact, and things did not go well. A walk, hit by pitch and another walk set up the game-winning hit for Fermin. The Naturals catcher had three RBI on the day.
The Drillers took a quick lead right out of the gate. In the top of the first, Errol Robinson set the tone with a leadoff single, while Donovan Casey and Connor Wong followed with singles to load the bases. Angelo Mora knocked in the first run of the game with a single to right field, putting Tulsa on top 1-0.
An unearned run evened things up for the Naturals in the bottom of the third. D.J. Burt started the inning with a bunt down the first base line. Wong quickly fielded the ball, but threw it into right field, allowing Burt to race around to third. Fermin promptly grounded to the shortstop, knocking in his first run of the game and leveling the game 1-1.
Tulsa got the run back an inning later. With one out in the top of the fourth, Eric Peterson smashed a ball deep into the right-center field gap and raced all the way around to third for a triple. After Jared Walker drew a walk, Robinson chopped a ball to shortstop and plated Peterson to give the Drillers a one-run lead.
Leo Crawford got the start on the mound for Tulsa and was once again brilliant in his second Double-A start. Crawford struck out seven and allowed five hits over seven innings, allowing only the unearned run.
It was up to the Drillers bullpen the rest of the way. Yordy Cabrera relieved Crawford and gave Tulsa a scoreless sixth. But after a walk by Burt and a balk by Cabrera, Fermin struck again with an RBI single to even things at 2-2.
WHAT YOU MISSED
*Crawford has yet to allow an earned run since being called up to Tulsa. Over his first 11 innings with the Drillers, he has struck out 18 batters and has allowed only eight hits.
*With a pair of hits on Sunday, Robinson extended his hitting streak to six games. He is 9-20 (.450) during the stretch.
*With one out in the bottom of the seventh, second baseman Omar Estevez exited the game with Drillers athletic trainer Kalie Swain. Walker took over Estevez's position from first, while Chris Parmelee played the remainder of the game at first.
* The loss resulted in a 2-2 series split and dropped Tulsa to 1.5 games behind first place Arkansas.
UP NEXT: Springfield at Tulsa, Monday, August 12, 7:05 PM at ONEOK Field. RHP Johan Oviedo (5-6, 5.60 ERA) vs. Drillers starter TBA.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.