Drillers Magic Number Remains at Two After Loss to Naturals
Needing a victory Thursday night to clinch a spot in the Texas League playoffs, the Tulsa Drillers were undone by errors and walks in the middle innings and fell 8-4 to Northwest Arkansas at ONEOK Field. With the defeat, Tulsa's magic number remains at two with four games remaining in the regular season.
The Drillers and Naturals traded runs in the first and third innings of Thursday's game. In the top of the first, a leadoff double by former Driller Erick Mejia set the table for an RBI single by Kelvin Gutierrez.
In the bottom half of the inning, Gavin Lux led off with a double, and Jacob Scavuzzo knocked him in with a clutch two-out single.
Drillers starting pitcher Tony Gonsolin walked the first three Naturals in the top of the third, then uncorked a wild pitch that resulted in a Northwest Arkansas run. After another walk, Gonsolin's night was over, and he was replaced by Jason Richman out of the pen. Richman got Xavier Fernandez to ground into a force out, but another run came home giving the Naturals a 3-1 lead.
In the bottom of the third, Lux led off with his second double of the game and advanced to third on a wild pitch. Drew Jackson brought him home with an RBI groundout, and Keibert Ruiz followed with a double. D.J. Peters reached with an infield single, and Scavuzzo knocked in his second run of the game win with a groundout.
Tied at 3-3 going into the top of the fourth inning, the Naturals pulled away for good. After an error and a pair of walks loaded the bases, run-scoring singles by Alex Liddi and Anderson Miller stretched the lead to 6-3.
With runners at first and third an inning later, Mejia brought home a run with a groundout. Samir Duenez extended the Naturals lead to 8-3 with an RBI single.
The score remained the same until Peters launched a two-out homer in the bottom of the eighth. But it would not be enough as the Naturals took home the 8-4 victory.
WHAT YOU MISSED
*Andre Scrubb allowed his first earned runs since joining the Drillers. In his four previous appearances, he had worked 6.2 innings without allowing a run out of the bullpen.
*Andrew Istler had a very solid 2.1 relief innings. He gave up only one hit and struck out four Naturals.
*Peters has a modest three-game hitting streak going. He has five hits, including three home runs in those three games.
The Drillers will play their final regular season game of 2018 at ONEOK Field on Friday night with the series finale against the Naturals. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 PM, and the probable starting pitchers will be:
NWA Emilio Ogando (11-6, 4.50 ERA)
TUL Ben Holmes (1-2, 3.19 ERA)
Images from this story
Jacob Scavuzzo of the Tulsa Drillers makes a catch
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