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 Tulsa Drillers

Drillers Hold Back Gritty Travelers, Move Back into First

June 9, 2023 - Texas League (TL)
Tulsa Drillers News Release

Tulsa Drillers' Jose Ramos and Austin Gauthier on game day
Tulsa Drillers' Jose Ramos and Austin Gauthier on game day
(Tulsa Drillers, Credit: Rich Crimi)

TULSA, OK- The Arkansas Travelers have been a tough matchup for the Tulsa Drillers all season long. It proved to be the case again on Friday night at ONEOK Field, but for just the third time in ten games, the Drillers found a way to top the Travelers.

The Drillers had a three-run lead after three innings on Friday, and spent the rest of the game holding off Arkansas threats. The final one came in the ninth inning when the Travs put the potential tying and winning runs on base, but Antonio Knowles got a fly out and a pop out to repel the threat and preserve a 5-4 Tulsa win in front of a sellout crowd of 8,182.

It was the fourth game of a six-game series between the two teams, and the Travelers had won the first three meetings to move into a first-place tie with the Drillers. With the win, Tulsa moved back in front by one game with 2 games left in the series and 14 games left in the first half.

Good, fundamental baseball produced the Drillers first run of the game in the second inning. Yusniel Diaz led off the inning with a double, advanced to third when Carson Taylor grounded out to the second baseman. Diaz raced home to give Tulsa a 1-0 lead when Eddys Leonard grounded out to third.

Jose Ramos added to the lead in the third. Austin Gauthier led off with a base hit, and one batter later, Ramos belted his 11th home run of the season to increase Tulsa's margin to three runs.

Drillers starting pitcher Emmet Sheehan was his usual dominant self through four shutout innings before running into trouble in the top of the fifth. The first three batters reached safely on a pair of singles and a walk. Another walk from Sheehan forced home a run and ended his outing.

Braydon Fisher came on and got an out on a sacrifice fly that cut the Drillers lead to 3-2. Fisher limited the damage by striking out the next two batters, ending the threat and preserving the lead.

Tulsa immediately got one of the runs back in the bottom half of the fifth as Josh Stowers was hit by a pitch to open the inning. Gauthier and Jorbit Vivas followed with consecutive singles that plated Stowers to up the lead to two runs.

After a scoreless sixth inning, the Travelers moved back to within one run in the top of the seventh. Tanner Kirwer reached safely on an infield single, stole second and moved to third on a balk. With two outs, pitcher John Rooney could not pick up a chopper off the bat of Isiah Gilliam. Kirwer scored on the error to cut the lead to 4-3.

Like in the fifth inning, the Drillers responded in their next at-bat. With two outs and the bases empty, Vivas singled. Ramos followed and grounded a double into the left field corner, and Vivas raced home to again up the lead to two runs.

The Travelers did not score in the eighth, but they put two runners on bases, meaning the Drillers had to work through the top of the lineup in the ninth.

The ninth began precariously when Jonatan Clase hit Jordan Leasure's first pitch over the right field berm for his third home run of the series, pulling the Travelers back to within one run.

After Logan Warmoth flew out to the warning track in center field, Tulsa turned to Antonio Knowles out of the bullpen. Gilliam greeted the reliever with lined double to the fence in right field. Knowles then walked Robbie Tenarowicz to put runners at first and second.

After a visit to the mound from pitching coach Ryan Dennick, Robert Perez Jr. hit a liner that Stowers caught in front of the left field warning track for the second out of the inning.

The Drillers then breathed a giant sigh of relief when Josh Morgan hit an infield popup that first baseman Imanol Vargas caught halfway between home and first to end the game. It was the first-ever Double-A save for Knowles who only joined Tulsa on May 25.


*It was a welcome victory for Tulsa who had given up 39 runs in the three losses to open the series.

*The first three spots in the Drillers lineup accounted for six of their nine hits. Gauthier, Vivas and Ramos had two hits each. Ramos also had three RBI.

*Sheehan worked four-plus innings and was charged with two runs on four hits and four walks. He had five strikeouts, upping his Texas League-leading total to 88. The right-hander three a career high 94 pitches in the outing.

*Fisher, who relieved Sheehan in the fifth, worked two scoreless innings with five of the six outs coming on strikeouts.

*The five Tulsa pitchers combined for 14 strikeouts in the game.


The Drillers will look for consecutive victories on Saturday night when the two teams play game five of their six-game series. First pitch at ONEOK Field is set for 7:05 p.m. and the starting pitchers are scheduled to be:

ARK - LHP Ethan Lindow (0-1, 2.54 ERA)

TUL - RHP Landon Knack (1-0, 2.17 ERA)

Images from this story

Tulsa Drillers' Jose Ramos and Austin Gauthier on game day
Tulsa Drillers' Jose Ramos and Austin Gauthier on game day

(Rich Crimi)

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