September 1, 2017 - Texas League (TL) - Northwest Arkansas Naturals
TULSA, Okla. - Starter, Foster Griffin, fired 8.0 innings while Jack Lopez and Ryan O'Hearn hit back-to-back home runs in the ninth inning in the Naturals' 6-2 triumph over Tulsa on Thursday night at ONEOK Field. The victory for Northwest Arkansas halted the Drillers 15-game home winning streak.
Griffin (11-5, 3.61) dominated from the outset. After allowing solo home runs to Kyle Garlick and Erick Mejia in the second frame, the 22-year old left-hander settled in. Over his final seven full innings, Griffin scatted three hits and struck out seven batters in his terrific performance. Griffin retired 13 of the final 14 hitters faced and completed eight innings for just the second time in his professional career.
Trailing 2-0 entering the third frame, Alfredo Escalera led off the inning with a single to left and moved to third on a hit-and-run by Anderson Miller to put men at the corners. Two batters later, Donnie Dewees hit a sacrifice fly to rightfield to score Escalera from third to pull the Naturals within a run. Griffin kept the deficit at a run until the top of the eighth inning.
Tulsa brought in reliever, Layne Somsen (5-1, 2.10) to pitch in the eighth. Dewees singled with one-out on a hard ground-ball to right field and promptly stole second base for his 20th theft of the year. With Lopez at the plate, he singled up the middle to score Dewees, tying the score at 2-2.
Left-handed reliever, Michael Johnson entered and gave up a two-out single to short center to Nick Dini, which moved Lopez to third base for Samir Duenez. The 21-year old prospect slugged a line-drive rocket down the rightfield line to bring home Lopez, putting the Naturals ahead for the first time all series 3-2.
After Griffin fired a perfect eighth inning, Lopez clobbered a two-run homer in the ninth inning and O'Hearn followed it up on the very next pitch from right-hander, Corey Copping, to complete back-to-back home runs and give the Naturals a 6-2 lead.
Richard Lovelady tossed a perfect ninth inning with a strikeout to polish off the win.
The back-to-back home run event is the second one this season - both of which came at ONEOK Field against the Drillers.
Northwest Arkansas (66-70/27-39) will hunt for the series split in the finale against Tulsa on Friday, September 1 with right-hander, Zach Lovvorn (4-8, 4.66) going to the hill against right-hander, Yadier Alvarez (1-2, 4.00) countering for the Drillers.
Join the Voice of the Naturals, Benjamin Kelly =B8 with a 6:45 p.m. Indigo Sky Casino Pregame Show leading up to the 7:05 p.m. first pitch on the flagship station of the Naturals, 92.1-FM, the Ticket.
Follow the Northwest Arkansas Naturals on Facebook and Twitter @NWANaturals all throughout the year by using the hashtag #NaturalPastime and #CrowntoCrown for all of our up-to-date information on Season 10 of Naturals baseball.
The Northwest Arkansas Naturals are the Double-A Texas League Affiliate of the Kansas City Royals. The Naturals play at state-of-the-art Arvest Ballpark in Springdale, Ark. For more information, including statistics, ticket options, and more, please visit NWANaturals.com, and follow us on Twitter @NWANaturals and Facebook.com/Naturals.