Leading by three runs heading into the top of the ninth inning on Tuesday night, the Tulsa Drillers looked like they were headed to their second straight victory over the Springfield Cardinals. But a clutch two-out, three-run homer tied things up and sent the game into the bottom of the ninth. The Drillers quickly recovered from the lost lead and loaded the bases in the ninth, setting it up for Connor Joe to deliver the walk-off single that gave the Drillers an 8-7 victory at ONEOK Field.
The victory improved the Drillers season record to 20-17 and moved them into sole possession of first place in the Texas League's North Division standings, one game in front of Springfield and Arkansas.
The starter in Tuesday's game for the Drillers was Texas League ERA leader Caleb Ferguson, and he cruised through the first two innings. But, in the top of the third, Cardinals right fielder Granden Goetzman was able to hit an opposite field homer down the right field line to open the game's scoring. It was only the third earned run that Ferguson had given up this season, and the first home run the southpaw had allowed.
In the bottom of the third, the Drillers exploded for a big inning. Angelo Mora led the inning off with a drive onto the berm beyond the right field fence for his third homer of the season. Luke Raley then doubled and D.J. Peters drew a walk. Joe plated Raley with a run-scoring single, and Keibert Ruiz cleared the bases by launching the second homer of the inning and his fourth homer of the season.
Raley extended the Drillers lead with a leadoff homer in the top of the fifth. Joe and Tyler Colvin singled and Ruiz walked to load the bases. Peter O'Brien's bat stayed hot by knocking an RBI single to left to make the Drillers lead 7-1.
The top of the sixth brought Ferguson the most trouble of the season. With one out, Tommy Edman doubled and Ramon Urias lined a single that hit Ferguson on the wrist of his glove hand. After the trainer checked on him to make sure everything was okay, Ferguson promptly gave up a three-run homer to Randy Arozarena.
The three earned runs allowed in the sixth doubled his total for the season.
The score remained the same until the top of the ninth. After reliever Corey Copping got two quick outs, the Cards rallied for back-to-back singles, and Goetzman tied the game with his second long-ball of the game.
Moments later Zack Reks started the winning rally when he led off the bottom of the ninth by reaching on an error. Raley and Peters both singled on the first pitches they saw to load the bases. Joe quickly ended the game with a single to left to give the Drillers the 8-7 victory.
WHAT YOU MISSED
*This was the first walk-off win for the Drillers this season.
*Corey Copping had not allowed a home run all season until the game-tying shot in the ninth.
*Raley and Joe both had three-hit nights.
*Despite giving up the four earned runs, Ferguson's ERA sits at 1.38 for the season.
*In a roster move prior to the game, Mike Ahmed re-joined the Drillers roster after being with Oklahoma City, and Frank Duncan was assigned to extended spring training.
The Drillers will go for the series win on Wednesday morning when they take on the Cardinals in game-three of the four-game set. First pitch is scheduled for 11:05 am, with the probable starters being:
SPR Ryan Helsley (2-2, 5.40 ERA)
TUL Logan Bawcom (0-0, 0.00 ERA)
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.