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Tulsa Rallies for Doubleheader Split with Naturals

July 20, 2021 - Double-A Central League (AA Central) - Tulsa Drillers News Release

Romer Cuadrado of the Tulsa Drillers slides back safely into first on a pick off attempt
Romer Cuadrado of the Tulsa Drillers slides back safely into first on a pick off attempt
(Tulsa Drillers, Credit: Rich Crimi)

Tulsa, OK- The Tulsa Drillers opened a 13-game homestand Tuesday night at ONEOK Field with a doubleheader versus Northwest Arkansas, and it was a tale of two different games for the Drillers. In game one, the Drillers were shut out on only five hits in a 5-0 defeat, but in the second game, they overcame an early five-run deficit by exploding for 9 runs on 12 hits to rally for a 9-8 victory and a split of the two games.

In the opener, which was the resumption of a game that was stopped by rain at Northwest Arkansas on June 6, the Naturals coasted to the shutout victory.

The game resumed with one out in the top of the second inning and with the Naturals holding a 1-0 lead. Vinnie Pasquantino increased the margin to three runs when he hit a two-run homer in the bottom of the third in what was his first-ever plate appearance at the Double-A level.

Brhet Bewley singled in another run in the fourth, and MJ Melendez doubled home the game's final run in the seventh.

Ryan Pepiot was actually the losing pitcher as he worked the game's first inning back on June 6.

Offensively, the Drillers produced only four hits over the final eight innings that were played on Tuesday.

In the second game, the Tulsa bats awakened, but only after the Naturals took a five-run lead in the top of the first inning.

The nightcap began with the first three batters of the game hitting safely off Tulsa starting pitcher Austin Drury to load the bases. After a strikeout, Drury walked Jimmy Govern to force home the game's first run. Bewley followed with a drive into the Drillers bullpen in right-center field for a grand slam home run that quickly gave Northwest Arkansas a 5-0 lead.

The Drillers used a big second inning to get back into the game. The inning began with consecutive home runs from Donovan Casey and Ryan Noda. With two outs, Romer Cuadrado singled before the red-hot Clayton Daniel belted the third homer of the inning to trim the Naturals lead to 5-4.

A two-out rally in the fourth put Tulsa in front. After Heasley retired the first two batters of the frame, Andres Sotillet took over for the Naturals and the third out proved to be elusive.

Devin Mann walked, and Cuadrado singled. Daniel lined a single into right field to score Mann with the tying run, and Jacob Amaya did the same to plate Cuadrado and give the Drillers the lead. Michael Busch beat the defensive shift with an infield single to the right of second base to score Daniel and give Tulsa a 7-5 lead.

The Naturals offered an immediate response in the top of the fifth inning. One-out singles by Bewley and Brewer Hicklin off Nick Robertson put runners at first and second. Blake Perkins then lined a double into the right field corner to score Bewley, and when right fielder Cuadrado's throw back to the infield was off target, Hicklin came home to tie the game at 7-7.

The fireworks continued into the bottom of the fifth. After Noda one-hopped the left centerfield fence for a double, Hunter Feduccia blasted a pitch from Andres Sotillet high upon the grass berm in right field for his seventh home run of the season to put the Drillers back in front 9-7.

Still, the Naturals would not go away. Dairon Blanco opened the sixth inning with a base hit and advanced to third on a double by Pasquantino. A sacrifice fly by Double-A Central RBI-leader Melendez cut the Tulsa lead to a single run, but Justin Hagenman came on for Robertson and retired the next two batters to end the threat and keep the lead in place.

Hagenman worked around a one-out single in the seventh to close out the win and gain his third save of the year.


*The suspended first game was nine innings in length with Northwest Arkansas serving as the home team, while game two was seven innings with the Drillers the home team.

*For Daniel, he enjoyed his second straight three-hit game in the nightcap. In his past three games, the Tulsa infielder is officially 8-11 with 4 runs batted in.

*Even though they batted in just six innings, the Drillers 12 hits in the second game were just two short of a season high.

*The four runs the Drillers scored in the second inning of game two matched the most runs that Northwest Arkansas starting pitcher Jon Heasley has given up in any game this season. The former Oklahoma State Cowboys hurler entered the game with a 4-1 record and a 3.05 ERA.

*It was an impressive Double-A debut for Pasquantino. In addition to the first-game homer, he was a perfect 4-4 in the second game and finished the night a combined 5-7.

*For Drury in the second game, it was his first professional start. The lefthander settled in after the tough beginning and worked 2.2 innings, allowing five runs on six hits.

*Hagenman, Robertson and Aaron Ochsenbein are now tied for the team lead with three saves each.


NW Arkansas at Tulsa on Wednesday, July 21 at 7:05 PM at ONEOK Field.

Images from this story

Romer Cuadrado of the Tulsa Drillers slides back safely into first on a pick off attempt
Romer Cuadrado of the Tulsa Drillers slides back safely into first on a pick off attempt

(Rich Crimi)

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