Arenado's Homer Gives Drillers WinApril 15, 2012 - Texas League (TL) Tulsa Drillers
Sunday afternoon at ONEOK Field, the 20-year-old picked a timely moment to hit his first Double A homer. With two outs and the bases empty in the bottom of the eighth inning, Arenado hit a towering drive into the terrace section in left field to break a tie game and send the Drillers to a 2-1 win over the Corpus Christi Hooks.
It was an early birthday present for Arenado, who turns 21 on Monday. His late-game heroics gave the Drillers a season high third straight win and improved their season record to 7-3. Arenado has hit safely in all but one game this season and has a .395 batting average with 8 runs batted in.
He also shined in the field. Brandon Barnes led off the top of the ninth against Josh Sullivan with a slow chopper up the third base line. Arenado charged and made a barehanded grab before making a strong throw to first to just get Barnes for the first out of the inning.
The play proved even more important when Jose Martinez followed with a base hit into center and advanced to second when Mike Mitchell bobbled the grounder.
Sullivan got Chris Wallace on a grounder to Arenado before striking out Andrew Simunic to end the game and record his second save.
"The home run was big because it helped us get the win, and that is the main thing," said Arenado. "It was real exciting and hopefully there is more to come."
He downplayed his defensive heroics.
"Our pitchers did what they had to do by getting the ball on the ground, and we are supposed to be making the plays, even the hard ones," he said.
Left fielder Tim Torres leaps high to snare a fly ball during Tulsa's 2-1 win Sunday afternoon. (Rich Crimi)
The game had seemed destined for extra innings because of the good pitching from both sides.
Tulsa's only other run in the game came in the bottom of the first, and it was Josh Rutledge who almost single-handedly produced it. Rutledge led off with a single to center and stayed on the base paths when he beat shortstop Jonathan Villar's throw to second in an attempt to start a double play. With Arenado at the plate, Rutledge stole third base and came home when catcher Chris Wallace's throw got by Simunic.
Tulsa starting pitcher Nick Schmidt kept the Hooks off the scoreboard through the first three innings before Jacob Goebbert ended the shutout in the top of the fourth. Goebbert led off with an opposite field drive into the bullpen in right field to tie the game at 1-1. The Hooks' outfielder has two home runs this season and both have come at the expense of the Drillers.
Nick Schmidt worked the first six innings, matching the longest outing by a Tulsa starter this season. The lefthander allowed only one run on five hits. He did not walk a batter and struck out three.
Hooks starter Jake Buchanan was just as effective, allowing one run on four hits in six innings of work. Buchanan walked one hitter while also striking out three.
Joey Williamson took over for Schmidt and kept the Hooks off the board in the seventh before Will Harris pitched a scoreless eighth inning to record his first win of the year.
Corpus Christi's Kevin Chapman was the victim of Arenado's home run and suffered his first loss of the season.
For the second straight game, the Drillers won despite totaling only six hits. Arenado and Rutledge accounted for four of them by picking up two each.
Tulsa will host Corpus Christi again Monday afternoon in game two of the three-game series. Joe Gardner (0-0, 4.76 ERA) will pitch for the Drillers against Jarred Cosart (0-0, 0.00 ERA) of the Hooks. Starting time at ONEOK Field is scheduled for 12:35PM.
Texas League Stories from April 15, 2012
- 'Riders Rally in Eighth, Win 4-3 - Frisco RoughRiders
- Cardinals Pounded by Midland 18-4 - Springfield Cardinals
- Eighth Inning Rally Does in Travs at Frisco - Arkansas Travelers
- Arenado's Homer Gives Drillers Win - Tulsa Drillers
- Naturals Washed Away on Sunday - Northwest Arkansas Naturals
- Game Notes, April 15 at Tulsa - Corpus Christi Hooks
The opinions expressed in this release are those of the organization issuing it, and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts or opinions of OurSports Central or its staff.