Tulsa Suffers Walk-Off Loss in Corpus Christi Finale
CORPUS CHRISTI, TX – In the final game of a six-game road trip Sunday night, the Tulsa Drillers staged a late rally in an attempt to force extra innings, but Corpus Christi had other ideas. After watching the Drillers rally with single runs in both the eighth and ninth innings
CORPUS CHRISTI, TX – In the final game of a six-game road trip Sunday night, the Tulsa Drillers staged a late rally in an attempt to force extra innings, but Corpus Christi had other ideas. After watching the Drillers rally with single runs in both the eighth and ninth innings to erase a 4-2 deficit, the Hooks quickly answered in the bottom of the ninth. Chad Stevens’ hit with the bases loaded gave the Hooks the walk-off win and sent the Drillers to a disappointing 5-4 loss at Whataburger Field.
With the defeat, the Drillers finished the six games in Corpus Christi with a 2-4 record. They are currently in second place in the Texas League’s North Division, one game behind Arkansas.
Eddys Leonard had given the Drillers an initial lead in Sunday’s finale with their first hit of the game in the top of the fourth inning. Jose Ramos drew a leadoff walk to open the inning, and Leonard followed with his fourth home run of the season, driving a 0-2 pitch over the right-center field fence.
Tulsa starting pitcher River Ryan pitched around four hits and three walks to keep the Hooks scoreless through the first four innings. Ryan was removed from the game after throwing two pitches in the bottom of the fifth and getting a fly out.
Lael Lockhart relieved and walked the first batter he faced, Quincy Hamilton, after just missing the strike zone on a full-count pitch. The walk proved crucial when two pitches later, Drew Gilbert hit his first homer of the year to tie the score at 2-2.
Ben Harris took over for Lockhart to open the bottom of the sixth, and the Hooks produced two more runs to take the lead. With one out, Stevens hit a solo homer to put Corpus Christi in front. One out later, Garrett Wolforth doubled and scored on a base hit by Hamilton to make it 4-2.
Leonard’s home run proved to be Tulsa’s only hit through the first seven innings. In the top of the eighth, Josh Stowers was hit by a pitch and scored on consecutive two-out singles from Jose Ramos and Leonard.
In the ninth, the Drillers were down to their final strike before Carson Taylor delivered. The inning began with back-to-back singles by Imanol Vargas and Brandon Lewis. The Hooks got a double-play grounder from pinch-hitter Yusniel Diaz, leaving Vargas at third base with two outs. Taylor quickly fell into a 0-2 hole, but, after fouling off a pitch, he grounded a single into centerfield to bring Vargas home to tie the game at 4-4.
Tulsa’s hopes of an extra-innings win quickly disappeared in the bottom of the ninth. With one, the Hooks loaded the bases against Tanner Dodson with a pair of singles and a walk. With the outfield drawn in to take away a sacrifice fly, Stevens hit a high fly ball over the head of Ramos in centerfield. The ball landed on the warning track and bounced over the fence for the game-winning hit. As per baseball’s official rules, Stevens was only credited with a single, but that was little concern to the Hooks as they celebrated the walk-off win near second base.
HIGHLIGHTS AND HAPPENINGS:
*The Hooks out-hit the Drillers 13-6 in the game. Leonard was the only Tulsa player with more than one hit, finishing 2-4 with three runs batted in.
*It was another decision for Dodson, his eighth of the season. The loss gives the reliever a .500 record with four wins and four losses.
*The Drillers have lost two straight road series and now have an 8-10 record away from ONEOK Field. They have a 16-5 home mark.
*Despite losing four of the six games to the Hooks, Tulsa actually out-scored Corpus Christi 22-21 in the series. Three of the games were decided by one run, with the Hooks winning two of them.
The Drillers now return home and will open a six-game series with Northwest Arkansas on Tuesday evening. It will be the first meeting this season between the division rivals. Starting time for Tuesday’s opener at ONEOK Field is scheduled for 7:05PM, and the starting pitchers have yet to be announced.