May 9, 2010 - Texas League (TL) - Tulsa Drillers
The Tulsa Drillers may want to petition the Texas League to adapt an NFL-type schedule because Sunday seems to be their preferred day of play. Sunday afternoon at ONEOK Field, the Drillers improved their record on the first day of the week to a perfect 5-0 with a 9-0 defeat of the Northwest Arkansas Naturals. Three of Tulsa's five victories at ONEOK Field this season have occurred on Sundays.
The victory was one of the best performances of the year from Tulsa and it came against a Naturals team that boasts the best record in the TL. The Drillers got a strong outing from starting pitcher Bruce Billings, and a good offensive showing against one of the top pitching prospects in the league to post the win.
Billings allowed only four hits and two walks in seven shutout innings. He also struck out three in his longest outing of the year. The win improved Billings' record to 2-3.
Naturals' starter Aaron Crow, a number one draft pick of the Kansas City Royals last June, was dominant early as the game was scoreless through the first three innings. Crow retired the first two hitters in the fourth before surrendering a two-out hit to Kenny Perez. Ryan Harvey then broke the shutout with a long home run that landed above the terrace section in left field. It was Harvey's team-leading 5th homer of the year.
The Drillers struck again in the fifth when the first five batters reached base safely. Crow issued a walk to Dayton Buller, and Jason Van Kooten singled into left. With the runners at first and second, Anthony Jackson laid down a perfect sacrifice bunt along the third base line. Catcher Manuel Pina fielded the bunt but could not get the speedy Jackson, and when his throw sailed past first baseman Clint Robinson, Buller scored to make it 3-0. After Crow hit Daniel Mayora with a pitch to load the bases, Jeff Kindel dropped a double inside the left field line that plated Van Kooten and Jackson to up the margin to five runs.
Tulsa put the game away with four more runs in the sixth. Van Kooten had an RBI double, and Jackson and Mayora added run-scoring singles. Kindel accounted for the final run with a ground out that scored Jackson to make it 9-0.
Buller extended his hitting streak to six straight games with three hits. Jackson and Van Kooten added two hits each.
The Drillers will play game three of their four-game series with the Naturals Monday night. They will again be up against a top pitching prospect as Keith Weiser (1-0, 1.59 ERA) will work against Mike Montgomery (1-0, 1.59 ERA). Montgomery was the Royals first round draft pick in 2008. First pitch is slated for 7:05PM at ONEOK Field.