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 Tulsa Drillers

Drillers' Rally Late to Provide Large Holiday Crowd with Walk-Off Win

July 5, 2023 - Texas League (TL)
Tulsa Drillers News Release

Tulsa Drillers' Eddys Leonard on game night
Tulsa Drillers' Eddys Leonard on game night
(Tulsa Drillers, Credit: Tim Campbell)

TULSA, OK- A large July 4th fireworks display took place following Tuesday's series opener between Tulsa and Wichita at ONEOK Field, but the crowd of over 8,000 got some late, offensive fireworks in the game from the Drillers, capped by a walk-off victory.

The Drillers only lead of the night came on the game's final play as they trailed by two runs for most of the contest. Jose Ramos erased the deficit with a two-run, game-tying homer in the bottom of the eighth to force extra innings. After each team scored a run in the tenth, Tulsa reliever Trevor Bettencourt kept the Wind Surge off the scoreboard in the top of the eleventh.

The Drillers seized the opportunity in the bottom of the eleventh. After a wild pitch allowed placed runner Imanol Vargas to advance to third base, Eddys Leonard brought the large crowd to its feet with a lined single to centerfield that gave the Drillers a 5-4 walk-off victory.

It was the 13th meeting this year between the two rivals, and seven of the games have now been decided by just one run. The Drillers have won six of those seven and now lead this year's edition of the Coors Light Propeller Series between the two teams 10-3.

Tuesday's matchup began with each team scoring in the opening frame. A two-out, RBI single from Aaron Sabato put Wichita on the scoreboard first.

In the bottom half of the first, the Drillers loaded the bases when Jorbit Vivas singled and Vargas and Leonard both drew walks. A wild pitch from David Festa allowed Vivas to race home and tie the game at 1-1.

The Wind Surge went in front with a pair of runs in the third inning. Will Holland drew a leadoff walk from Tulsa starter River Ryan, and Brooks Lee followed with a single. Yoyner Fajardo brought Holland home with a sacrifice fly, and Alex Isola plated Lee with a two-out single.

Festa worked the first two innings for the Wind Surge, and reliever Pierson Ohl was outstanding after replacing him, keeping the Drillers scoreless from the third inning through the seventh.

In the eighth, Ohl gave up a leadoff double to Austin Gauthier, but he then struck out Vivas.

Wichita called on reliever Regi Grace to replace Ohl, and Ramos blasted Grace's first pitch over the Budweiser Terrace in left field for a game-tying, two-run homer.

The game eventually went to extra innings, and the Wind Surge went in front in the top of the tenth when a pair of singles scored placed runner Holland.

The Drillers made a bid to win the game in the bottom of the tenth. Gauthier joined placed runner Carson Taylor on base when he was hit by a pitch. After a fielder's choice grounder from Vivas put runners at the corners, Ramos made a bid for a second homer, but his drive was caught on the warning track for a game-tying sacrifice fly.

Following Ramos' sacrifice, Vivas moved into scoring position with a steal of second base. Vargas then lined a single into left field, but Vivas was easily thrown out at the plate attempting to score the game-winning run.

Bettencourt, who also worked the tenth inning, set the stage for the winning rally be keeping the Wind Surge scoreless with a 1-2-3 top of the eleventh, striking out the first two batters.

The right-hander picked up the win, improving his season record to 3-0.


*The Drillers announced a roster move prior to the game. Relief pitcher Jake Pilarski was placed on the Injured List, and pitcher Orlando Ortiz was added to the active roster. Ortiz joins the Drillers from Great Lakes where he was 6-1 with a 3.58 ERA in 14 appearances with the Loons, primarily as a reliever. He is expected to make his Double-A debut on Wednesday as the Drillers starting pitcher.

*Coming on the heels of a difficult series in Amarillo, the Tulsa bullpen was outstanding in Tuesday's win. Four relievers combined to hold the Wind Surge to just one run over the final six innings, and it was unearned with the placed runner scoring in the tenth.

*Antonio Knowles recorded five strikeouts in 1.2 innings of work, and Jordan Leasure struck out the side in a scoreless ninth inning.

*Gauthier's eighth-inning double extended an impressive streak, as he has now reached base in 22 consecutive games. It is the second longest streak of the season for a Tulsa batter. Jorbit Vivas reached base in 23 straight games, running from opening day through May 3.

*The eighth-inning home run from Ramos was his team-leading 16th of the year.

*Festa, who is rated as the 8th best prospect in the Minnesota Twins farm system, is scheduled to pitch in this Saturday's SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game. The right-hander was a member of the Drillers collegiate league team that played at ONEOK Field in 2020.

*Manager Scott Hennessey, who is on a temporary, medical leave of absence, was in the Tulsa dugout for the victory.

*It was Drillers' fifth walk-off win of the season. They now have an 8-3 record in extra-inning games this season.

*Official paid attendance for the game was 8,216, the second largest of the season.

*There are 11 games remaining in the Propeller Series this season, and the Drillers need 3 more wins to win this year's edition.


The Drillers and Wind Surge will continue their series on Wednesday at ONEOK Field. The game will again have a special starting time of 6:35 p.m. with a large, holiday Fireworks Show scheduled for afterwards:

The starting pitchers are expected to be:

Wichita - RHP Carlos Luna (1-4, 5.02 ERA)

Tulsa - RHP Orlando Ortiz (6-1, 3.58 ERA at Great Lakes)

Images from this story

Tulsa Drillers' Eddys Leonard on game night
Tulsa Drillers' Eddys Leonard on game night

(Tim Campbell)

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