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 Tulsa Drillers

Clutch Debut from Keith Gives Drillers Walk-off Win

June 11, 2024 - Texas League (TL)
Tulsa Drillers News Release

Tulsa Drillers' Dalton Rushing and Austin Beck on game night
Tulsa Drillers' Dalton Rushing and Austin Beck on game night
(Tulsa Drillers, Credit: Rich Crimi)

TULSA, OK - Tulsa Drillers outfielder Damon Keith made his ONEOK Field debut Tuesday night, and it was a memorable one. In his first-ever at-bat at ONEOK, as a pinch hitter in the bottom of the ninth inning, Keith's two-run single capped a three-run rally that gave the Drillers a dramatic 5-4 walk-off victory over the Arkansas Travelers.

It was a big comeback for the Drillers and a big victory. After a loss by Springfield earlier in the day, Arkansas had moved into a first-place tie with the Redbirds atop the North Division standings of the Texas League. Leading by two runs heading into the bottom of the ninth, the Travelers were three outs away from taking sole possession of first, but Keith's heroics changed things. With the victory, the Drillers moved to within 4.0 games of Springfield, while Arkansas fell Â1/2 game behind the Cards.

There are now 11 games remaining the first half of the Texas League schedule with the first-half winner in the North clinching a September playoff berth.

Tulsa had showed very little offense prior to the final inning, totaling just four hits. Two of them were home runs and accounted for the Drillers two runs.

Dalton Rushing drilled his ninth home run of the season in the first inning for a quick 1-0 lead.

The lead did not last as the Travelers plated the game's next four runs to take control. Single runs in both the third and fourth innings off Tulsa starter Justin Wrobleski gave them the lead before a two-run single from Cole Young in the top of the sixth off reliever Michael Hobbs upped the Arkansas margin to 4-1.

Austin Beck produced Tulsa's second run with his team-leading tenth homer in the bottom half of the sixth to make it a two-run game.

Looking to complete the 4-2 victory, the Travelers called on closer Troy Taylor to work the bottom of the ninth. The hard-throwing right-hander entered the game with a combined 11 saves this season between Arkansas and High-A Everett.

Taylor walked the inning's leadoff hitter, Jose Ramos, on four pitches with two of the offerings narrowly missing the outfielder.

A lined base hit to center from Brandon Davis put runners at first and second. With Bubba Alleyne at the plate, Ramos gambled on a steal attempt of third base and succeeded to put runners at the corners. Alleyne then came through with a double into the right-center field gap that scored Ramos to pull the Drillers to within one run.

With runners at second and third, Tulsa called on Keith to pinch hit for Yeiner Fernandez. Keith worked a 2-2 count from Taylor before lining a base hit into center field that scored both Davis and Alleyne, setting off a field storming from the Drillers dugout.

It was the third walk-off victory for Tulsa in its past seven home games.


*The Drillers announced several roster moves prior to Tuesday's contest. Pitcher Jack Little was transferred to Oklahoma City, pitcher Jeisson Cabrera was transferred to Great Lakes and pitcher Yon Castro was released from the Los Angeles Dodgers' organization.

Added to the roster from Great Lakes was pitcher Edgardo Henriquez. Infield Griffin Lockwood-Powell was active from the Injured List, and pitcher Ben Harris was reinstated from the Temporarily Inactive List.

*Wrobleski worked the game's first four innings, matching his shortest stint of the season. The former OSU lefthander allowed six hits and two runs while walking one batter and striking out four.

*Reliever Juan Morillo struck out the side in the top of the ninth to be in position for the win that upped his record to 3-1. The three victories are the second most on the staff, trailing only Wrobleski's team-leading four wins.

*Beck was named the Texas League's Player of the Week on Monday. Beck is hitting .323 in eight games in the month of June with 3 home runs and 10 RBI.


The Drillers and Travelers will be back in action Wednesday afternoon with game two of their six-game series. First pitch is slated for 12:00 p.m. at ONEOK Field and the starting pitchers are scheduled to be:

ARK - LHP Reid VanScoter (2-4, 4.50 ERA)

TUL - RHP Orlando Ortiz-Mayr (1-4, 7.19 ERA)

Images from this story

Tulsa Drillers' Dalton Rushing and Austin Beck on game night
Tulsa Drillers' Dalton Rushing and Austin Beck on game night

(Rich Crimi)

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