MIDLAND, TX – Defensive miscues and a perfect night from former Owasso High School third baseman Jonah Bride proved to be the downfall of the Tulsa Drillers Thursday night in Midland. Holding a one-run lead through five innings, things unraveled for the Drillers starting with pair of defensive lapses in
MIDLAND, TX – Defensive miscues and a perfect night from former Owasso High School third baseman Jonah Bride proved to be the downfall of the Tulsa Drillers Thursday night in Midland. Holding a one-run lead through five innings, things unraveled for the Drillers starting with pair of defensive lapses in the sixth inning as Bride and the RockHounds rallied to claim a 5-3 win at Momentum Bank Ballpark.
The loss did not eliminate the Drillers from the Double-A Central playoff race, but it made the path more difficult. Among the five teams still in the race, only Wichita and Frisco won on Thursday. Wichita clinched first place and its spot in the postseason with its victory.
Like Tulsa, Arkansas and Northwest Arkansas both lost, leaving Frisco in sole possession of second place with the Travelers ½ game behind. The Naturals are 1 game behind the RoughRiders and the Drillers are now 1½ games behind for the second and final playoff berth. The magic number for both Arkansas and Frisco to eliminate the Drillers from the playoff race now stands at two.
The first inning featured runs from both teams. The Drillers run came without a hit as Midland starting pitcher Colin Peluse walked the first two hitters of the game. Leadoff batter James Outman advanced to third on a fly out by Miguel Vargas and scored on a sacrifice fly by Justin Yurchak.
Midland matched the Drillers in the bottom half of the first when leadoff batter Max Schuemann doubled and eventually scored on an infield ground out to tie the game at 1-1.
Tulsa regained the lead when Ryan Noda opened the third inning with a double, advanced to third on wild pitch and came home on a Yurchak’s second sacrifice fly of the night.
Devin Mann gave the Drillers a 3-1 lead when he led off the fourth with his 14th home run of the season. For Mann, it was his eighth home run in 14 games in September.
The RockHounds trimmed the margin to one run when Bride, who played collegiately at South Carolina University, opened the bottom of the fourth with a triple. He scored on a one-out base hit by Jhonny Santos.
A big defensive miscue allowed Midland to tie the game again in the sixth inning against reliever Jose Martinez. After Santos led off with a base hit, Mikey White hit what looked to be a double-play grounder near the bag at second, but Vargas saw the ball deflect off his glove. The misplay became worse when shortstop Jacob Amaya grabbed the carom and tried to throw quickly to first base to retire White, but he threw wildly. The result left the runners at second and third with no outs.
Kyle Mann scored Santos with an infield ground out, but with White at third base and just one out, Martinez kept the game tied by getting another ground out and a strikeout to end the inning with the score tied at 3-3.
Defensive troubles again cost the Drillers in the seventh. After the first two batters of the inning were retired, Martinez surrendered a walk to Bride and gave up a base hit to Logan Davidson. With runners at first and second, Santos hit a soft grounder up the third base line. Kody Hoese initially stayed back before charging and fielding the grounder in front of the bag. Hoese threw low to first and the ball skipped by first baseman Yurchak, bringing in another unearned run that gave Midland a 4-3 lead.
The RockHounds added an insurance run in the bottom of the eighth. Reliever Cameron Gibbens loaded the bases with a pair of walks and a base hit. With two outs, Bride came to the plate and capped his big night with a slow, 70-foot grounder up the third base line that left Hoese without a play at any base as the fifth run of the game crossed the plate for the RockHounds.
Midland reliever Montana DuRapau, who spent much of the 2019 season in the majors with the Pittsburgh Pirates, closed the game by setting the Drillers down in order in both the eighth and ninth innings to collect his eighth save of the year.
*Bride, the former Owasso Ram, finished the game a perfect 3-3 with two walks, two runs scored and one driven in.
*Bryan Brickhouse started the game on the mound for the Drillers and worked the first four innings. Brickhouse was charged with two runs on three hits and three walks.
*Martinez suffered the tough-luck loss, dropping his Double-A record to 1-4. Neither run he allowed was earned.
*Clayton Daniel, who was playing in his first game in over two weeks, accounted for two of Tulsa’s six hits in the game. Noda also had two hits in the game.
*The Drillers announced late Thursday afternoon that pitcher Markus Solbach will join the team from Triple-A Oklahoma City on Friday. Solbach was 5-1 with a 2.57 ERA for the Drillers during the 2019 season.
The Drillers and RockHounds will play the fourth game of their six-game series at 7:00 p.m. on Friday, September 17 at Momentum Bank Ballpark. The Drillers have not announced a starting pitcher but Midland will start LHP Jared Koenig (6-5, 3.38 ERA).