Drillers Again Suffer Walk-Off Defeat to Northwest Arkansas
SPRINGDALE, AR - The final two innings saw four lead changes in Sunday afternoon's rubbermatch game between the Tulsa Drillers and Northwest Arkansas Naturals. Tied 8-8 after nine innings, the Naturals once again delivered a game-winning hit in extra innings to take a 9-8 win. All four Drillers losses to the Naturals since August 9 have happened in walk-off fashion.
Down by two runs in the top of the eighth, Drew Avans started the inning with a perfectly placed bunt on the right side of the infield for a single, then advanced to second on a groundout. Donovan Casey followed with a run-scoring single to put Tulsa within one. Cody Thomas then gave Tulsa a 7-6 lead, its first lead of the afternoon, with an opposite-field two-run homer over the left field wall.
Drillers reliever Marshall Kasowski found himself in trouble after an error, a single and a walk loaded the bases for the Naturals in the bottom of the eighth. Blake Perkins gave the Northwest Arkansas an 8-7 lead with a bases-clearing triple. The play resulted in only two runs for the Naturals because the umpires ruled that Nate Esposito missed third base, and he was ruled out on the play keeping Tulsa's deficit at one run.
The Drillers did not go down without a fight. Angelo Mora led the top of the ninth inning off with a deep fly over the left field wall, his fourth homer of the year, evening things at 8-8.
The Naturals did not score in their half of the ninth, forcing extra innings.
After the Drillers went down quietly in the top of the tenth, Emmanuel Rivera rolled a single through the hole and into left field, scoring the winning run that gave the Naturals another walk-off win.
It was a back-and-forth game with Tulsa taking an early lead. Chris Parmelee got the scoring started in the top of the first by crushing his 12th home run over the right field wall. But the 1-0 lead was short-lived as Northwest Arkansas right came back with four runs in the bottom of the inning.
Jordan Sheffield got the start on the mound for the Drillers as an opener and immediately issued a leadoff walk to Dairon Blanco. Blanco immediately preceded to steal second and was knocked in by Kevin Merrell on an RBI double. After the Naturals loaded the bases on two more walks, Jordan George singled to plate two more runs.
Michael Boyle replaced Sheffield out of the Drillers bullpen. After a sacrifice fly extended the Naturals lead to 4-1, Boyle worked to escape the jam without any further damage.
In the top of the third, Omar Estevez led the inning off with a solo-home run, cutting the Drillers deficit in half, but Northwest Arkansas added two more in the bottom half of the inning.
Replacing Boyle out of the Drillers bullpen to work the bulk of the game was Parker Curry.
After recording two quick outs, Curry issued a walk, bringing up Perkins. Perkins hit a ball deep to straightaway centerfield. Drillers centerfielder Casey raced back to the wall, and attempted to jump to catch the ball against the wall. The ball hit the wall about Casey's glove and bounced out of away, allowing Perkins to race all the way around for an inside-the-park home run to give the Naturals a 6-2 lead.
The Drillers began their comeback attempt in the top of the fifth. Casey drew a walk, and Cody Thomas followed with an RBI triple. Mora then came up with a big two-out single, plating Thomas and cutting the Drillers deficit to 6-4.
WHAT YOU MISSED
*The loss leaves Tulsa in a first-place tie with Arkansas in the Texas League North division standings. There are 14 games remaining in the second half.
*The Drillers defeated the Naturals 14-12 in the season series. Tulsa ends with an even 42-42 against North Division opponents in the regular season.
*After Curry allowed the two runs in the third, he went on to pitch four perfect innings after that, setting down all 12 men he faced thereafter.
*Thomas' eighth inning homer was hits 20th of the season. Springfield's Dylan Carlson leads the Texas League with 21.
UP NEXT: Amarillo at Tulsa, Tuesday, August 20, 7:05 PM at ONEOK Field. Both starting pitchers are TBA.
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Texas League Stories from August 18, 2019
- Sod Poodles Blank RoughRiders 2-0 in Series Finale - Amarillo Sod Poodles
- Cards Fall 7-1 to Travs in Series Finale - Springfield Cardinals
- Pitching Holds Firm But Amarillo Claims Finale - Frisco RoughRiders
- Gilbert Deals and Travs Hit Three Homers in Win - Arkansas Travelers
- Drillers Again Suffer Walk-Off Defeat to Northwest Arkansas - Tulsa Drillers
- Naturals Secure Series with Another Walk-Off Win - Northwest Arkansas Naturals
- Hooks Take Tough Loss in Extras to Midland - Corpus Christi Hooks
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