SPRINGDALE, AR - The Tulsa Drillers could not protect an early three-run lead Wednesday afternoon at Northwest Arkansas and dropped their fourth straight game in a 6-5 loss to the Naturals. The reult gave the Naturals a sweep of the three-game series that was played at Arvest Ballpark and left the Drillers with a 2-6 record on their eight-game road trip.
Former Tulsa infielder Cody Featherston staked Northwest Arkansas to a quick lead with a solo home run in the bottom of the first inning.
The Drillers produced most of their offense in the top of the second. With one out, Keibert Ruiz singled, and Cody Thomas doubled off the glove of Nick Heath in deep centerfield. DJ Peters plated Ruiz with a sacrifice fly that Heath actually dropped. With runners at the corners, Jared Walker put Tulsa up 4-1 with his fourth homer of the season.
The Naturals erased the lead against Tulsa starting pitcher Dustin May with two runs in the fourth and two more in the sixth.
Featherston struck again in the bottom of the seventh with another solo home run, his second of the game, to up the Northwest Arkansas lead to 6-4.
It proved to be the difference in the game as the Drillers attempted a rally in the ninth. With one out, Walker doubled and Steve Berman walked. Zach McKinstry pulled Tulsa to within one run with a base hit to center that scored Walker. The comeback attempt stalled when Angelo Mora grounded into a game-ending double play.
WHAT YOU MISSED
*It was a big day for Walker as he finished 2-3 with 2 runs scored and 3 runs batted in.
*May worked six complete innings, his longest outing of the season. He was charged with five runs, four earned. May did not walk a batter and struck out three.
*The ruling of a double on the ball hit by Thomas in the second was later changed by the official scorer to a two-base error on Heath. The scoring change made all four runs in the inning unearned and kept Northwest Arkansas starting pitcher Arnaldo Hernandez's ERA at 0.00 after two starts for the Naturals.
*Before the game, the Drillers placed second baseman Omar Estevez on the Injured List. Estevez suffered a hamstring strain in Tuesday night's game.
*Featherston, who played for the Drillers during the 2014 season when they were affiliated with the Colorado Rockies, enjoyed a big series against his former team. The former major leaguer finished 4-9 with 3 homers and 3 runs batted in.
*The three losses marked the first time since April of 2017 that Tulsa has been swept at Arvest Ballpark.
*The Drillers will now return home to begin a four-game homestand with Arkansas Thursday night. Tulsa is 11-6 at home this season but five of the losses have come against the Travelers. Overall, the Drillers are just 5-10 against Arkansas this season, including a 2-5 mark at ONEOK Field.
UP NEXT: Arkansas at Tulsa, Thursday, May 16, 7:05 PM at ONEOK Field in Tulsa, OK. LHP Ricardo Sanchez (4-2, 3.15 ERA) vs. TBA.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.