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 Tulsa Drillers

Loss Eliminates Tulsa from First-Half Playoff Race

June 23, 2023 - Texas League (TL)
Tulsa Drillers News Release


TULSA, OK- A ninth-inning Tulsa rally came up short on Friday as the Northwest Arkansas Naturals claimed a 5-4 win at ONEOK Field. Down three runs heading into the bottom of the ninth, Tulsa scored two runs and had the tying run at third base, but the runner was stranded there as a fly out to center ended the game.

The loss also eliminated Tulsa from first-half title contention as the Arkansas Travelers defeated the Wichita Wind Surge clinch the Texas League North Division championship.

Tulsa played as the TulsaSound for a second straight game and now has a 1-1 record under the alternate identity. The TulsaSound will continue for the next two nights to honor the iconic musical style that originated in the city.

The Naturals started the game with a pitcher on a Major League Rehab Assignment taking the mound, as lefthander Angel Zerpa made his third rehab appearance with the team. Zerpa entered Friday night with no runs allowed in his two previous starts with the Naturals.

The TulsaSound quickly ended Zerpa's scoreless streak as Jose Ramos hit his 14th home run of the season in the first inning to give Tulsa a 1-0 lead.

Sound starter Kyle Hurt held the Naturals scoreless until a solo home run in the fourth inning tied the score.

The game remained tied for just one inning as Tyler Tolbert gave Northwest Arkansas a 3-1 lead with a two-run homer in the top of the fifth.

Tolbert's home run, off reliever Tanner Dodson, closed the book on Hurt's line, who made his longest start of the season, working 4.2 innings. He also struck out a season-high 11 batters and gave up just two runs and one walk.

Beck Way took over the pitching duties for the Naturals in the fifth inning, and the TulsaSound struggled to earn a baserunner as Way began his outing with two perfect innings.

Tulsa did break through in the seventh when Jorbit Vivas cut the lead in half by hitting a solo home run.

A leadoff walk came back to hurt the Sound in the eighth inning. After Morgan McCullough reached on a four-pitch walk, he advanced to second on a wild pitch and scored on Jorge Bonifacio's RBI single, making the score 4-2.

Northwest Arkansas scored a fifth run in the ninth inning on Parker Bates' sacrifice fly to center field.

The Drillers rallied in the ninth inning, but a key mistake dashed Tulsa's hope for a win. After Vivas drew a leadoff walk, Diego Cartaya reached on a dropped pop up, but Vivas overran second base and was tagged out in a rundown.

Imanol Vargas drew a second Tulsa walk, and consecutive singles scored both baserunners. With the score at 5-4 and the tying run at third, Eddys Leonard flew out to centerfield to end the threat, the game and Tulsa's first-half title hopes.

HIGHLIGHTS AND HAPPENINGS:

*The Drillers will not clinch a first-half playoff spot despite having the second-best record in Double-A at 41-26.

*Hurt's 11 strikeouts matched Landon Knack for the most strikeouts by a Tulsa pitcher this season. Knack struck out 11 on April 29 in a 1-0 loss to Arkansas.

*Pitcher Alec Gamboa entered the game as a pinch runner. He served as the tying run but was stranded at third base.

*Tulsa has hit 77 home runs, with 48 being hit at ONEOK Field.

*The TulsaSound stranded seven runners on base and was two for six with runners in scoring position.

UP NEXT:

The Sound will continue their series with the Naturals on Saturday night at ONEOK Field with the fifth game of the six-game series. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. and the starting pitchers are slated to be:

NWA - LHP Drew Parrish (4-2, 5.30 ERA in Triple A)

TUL- RHP Nick Nastrini (3-2, 4.21 ERA)


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