Drillers Edge Closer to Playoff Berth with DH Split
The Tulsa Drillers took another step toward clinching a spot in the 2018 Texas League playoffs Wednesday night with a split of a doubleheader against Northwest Arkansas at ONEOK Field. After surrendering 12 runs in the 12-4 opening game loss to the Naturals, the Drillers just needed one run to claim a 1-0 victory in the second game. The only run came from Tulsa's first batter of the game when Errol Robinson led off the bottom of the first with his tenth home run of the season.
With the result, Tulsa reduced its magic number to two for clinching its second straight TL playoff berth. A win on either Thursday or Friday over the Naturals would wrap up the post-season spot.
In the first game, the two teams opened the scoring in the second inning by trading solo home runs. Alex Liddi led off the top of the second by hitting his 23rd home run of the season to put the Naturals in front.
D.J. Peters answered in the bottom half of the inning with a blast that traveled an estimated 435 feet and nearly cleared the batter's eye beyond the centerfield wall.
The Naturals went back in front with two more runs against Tulsa starting pitcher Mitchell White in the third, but the Drillers quickly responded. Drew Jackson led off the bottom of the third with his 14th home run, and, with two outs, Jacob Scavuzzo hit his 23rd to tie the score at 3-3. For Scavuzzo, it was his 49th career home run as a member of the Drillers, tying the franchise record that has been held by Kiel Roling.
White's struggles continued in the fourth as Northwest Arkansas put the game away with a five-run outburst. Alfredo Escalera led off with a base hit and came around to score when Nick Dini doubled over the head of Peters in right-center field. A throwing error by White on a bunt by Nick Heath put runners at the corners, before a walk loaded the bases and ended White's outing. Marshall Kasowski was summoned from the bullpen, and Jecksson Flores greeted him with a bases-clearing double. Samir Duenez followed with a two-run homer that put the Naturals up 9-3.
Peters gave the Drillers a consolation run in the fifth when he hit his second homer of the game and his 26th of the season before the Naturals closed out the scoring with three runs in the seventh.
In need of a victory in the second game, Robinson gave the Drillers a perfect start. The Tulsa leadoff batter deposited a full-count offering from Northwest Arkansas starting pitcher Luis Lugo into the bullpen in right field.
From there, a trio of Tulsa pitchers made sure the slim 1-0 lead held.
Starter Andrew Sopko blanked the Naturals through the first seven innings while recording seven strikeouts.
Shea Spitzbarth held Northwest Arkansas scoreless in the fifth in sixth innings to pick up the win that improve his record to 3-4.
Layne Somsen pitched around a two-out single in the final inning to record his second save.
The Naturals actually out-hit the Drillers 5-3 in the game. Tulsa's five total runs in the doubleheader came via five solo homers.
WHAT YOU MISSED
*Game one marked the fourth time this season that Peters has hit two home runs in a game.
*Outfielder Logan Landon took the mound in the first game for the Drillers and recorded the final out in the top of the seventh. It was Landon's first time to pitch in professional baseball.
*Keibert Ruiz struck out twice in the second game marking the first time since April 12 that he has struck out two times in a game at ONEOK Field.
*Flores finished with six runs batted in for the Naturals in game one.
*For Somsen, it was his tenth appearance of the year. He has not allowed a run in nine of those outings and has surrendered only one run this season.
The Drillers and Naturals will be back in action Thursday night in the next-to-last regular season game of 2018 at ONEOK Field. Frist pitch is slated for 7:05 p.m. and the starting pitchers are scheduled to be:
NWA Jace Vines (3-3, 6.88 ERA)
Tony Gonsolin (6-0, 1.93 ERA)
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Texas League Stories from August 30, 2018
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- Early Hooks Hits Best Riders - Frisco RoughRiders
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- I Heard It Through the Jace Vines: Naturals Playoff Hopes Stay Alive Another Day - Northwest Arkansas Naturals
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- Offense Stalls, Riders Tighten Race - Corpus Christi Hooks
- Kruczynski Good Again But Cardinals Fall 7-5 to Travelers - Springfield Cardinals
- Ramirez Walks It off for RockHounds - Midland RockHounds
- Drillers Edge Closer to Playoff Berth with DH Split - Tulsa Drillers
- Naturals Split Double-Header, Elimination No. Down to One - Northwest Arkansas Naturals
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