With the Tulsa Drillers trailing by a run in the eighth inning of Game 3 of the Texas League North Division Playoff Series Friday night, Cael Brockmeyer demolished a game-tying home run onto the back of the left field berm to tie the game, but Arkansas got a big homer of its own in the ninth for what proved to be a game-winner in a 4-3 win for the Travelers. Joseph Odom deposited a pitch just over the right field fence and just out of the reach of a leaping Logan Landon for the game-deciding clout.
After getting the first out of the ninth inning, Layne Somsen faced Odom and worked him to a 2-2 count. His next pitch was a borderline pitch that was called a ball, and Somsen clearly wanted the strike three call. On the next pitch, Odom produced his home run.
The win gives the Travelers a commanding 2-1 lead in the best-of-five series. The Drillers will have to win the next two games to advance to the Texas League Championship Series. Arkansas needs just one win to clinch the series.
The Travs struck first early in Friday's contest. Beau Amaral led the game off with a single that deflected off the glove of Brockmeyer at first. After a walk moved Amaral into scoring position, Eric Filia knocked in the first run of the game with a single up the middle.
The Drillers broke through for a run in the fourth. D.J. Peters walked and Jacob Scavuzzo got hit by a pitch to put a pair of runners on. Mike Ahmed came through with a clutch two-out single to even the game at 1-1.
An inning later, Tulsa rallied for another run to take the lead. After a Gavin Lux walk, a Drew Jackson single and a Scavuzzo single loaded the bases, Zach Reks was able to work a bases loaded walk for an RBI, giving the Drillers a 2-1 lead.
A big turning point in the game came in the top of the seventh. Michael Johnson was in his second inning of relief, and got into trouble by way of an error and two consecutive walks that loaded the bases for the Travs. A two-run single by Amaral gave Arkansas a 3-2 lead.
Brockmeyer's eighth inning home run tied the game and set the stage for the fateful ninth.
The Drillers made it interesting in the bottom of the ninth. Lux led the inning off with a double, and eventually ended up at third with just one out. But after a pop-up and a Peters strikeout, the Travelers took the 5-4 win.
WHAT YOU MISSED
*Dustin May got the start on the mound for Tulsa, and put together a very good start. He gave the Drillers five strong innings, giving up only one run on four hits.
*In the top of the fourth, May was struck by a line drive off the bat of Filia. The game was delayed for a few minutes as trainer Kalie Swain checked on the hurler. May stayed in the game, and got the next batter to ground into an inning-ending double play.
*Scavuzzo and Lux have hit safely in all three postseason games.
*The two earned runs that Arkansas starter Chris Mazza gave up were tied for the most he has given up in his five starts since coming to the Texas League. He started the season in the Miami Marlins system.
*The Drillers have now dropped their last four postseason games at ONEOK Field.
The best-of-five series will continue at ONEOK Field on Saturday night. First pitch for game 4 is scheduled for 7:05 PM, and the probable starters will be:
ARK Ashton Goudeau (4-5, 4.38 ERA)
TUL Andrew Sopko (3-1, 3.88 ERA)
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.