MIDLAND, TX – The Tulsa Drillers clinched the Texas League’s first-half North Division title earlier this week, but the clinching has not stopped their winning. The Drillers used a big, four-run fifth inning to defeat the Midland RockHounds 6-1 on Saturday night at Midland’s Momentum Bank Ballpark. Three hits from
MIDLAND, TX – The Tulsa Drillers clinched the Texas League’s first-half North Division title earlier this week, but the clinching has not stopped their winning. The Drillers used a big, four-run fifth inning to defeat the Midland RockHounds 6-1 on Saturday night at Midland’s Momentum Bank Ballpark. Three hits from James Outman and three runs batted in from Abiatel Avelino helped produce the victory.
The win was the third straight for Tulsa and its tenth in the last 11 games.
It was the 40th victory of the half for the Drillers, marking the first time since the 2012 season that they have reached 40 wins in a first half.
The RockHounds took an initial lead in the game with a run in the bottom of the first inning. With one out, Jeremy Eierman walked and JJ Schwarz singled. Eierman scored when Tulsa pitcher John Rooney committed a throwing error on a pickoff attempt and then balked.
It would be the only offense of the night for the Hounds, as the Drillers comeback began in the third inning when they tied the game. The run came when Outman picked up his first hit and then scored on a double by Andy Pages.
Tulsa went in front with a four-run fifth. Leonel Valera opened the inning with a double, and Justin Yurchak followed with a single that put runners at first and third. With one out, Outman and Devin Mann drew consecutive walks to force home a run. Following a strikeout for the second out of the inning, a base hit from Avelino scored both Outman and Yurchak.
After Midland replaced starting pitcher David Leal with Chester Pimentel, Hunter Feduccia lined the reliever’s first pitch into centerfield to plate Mann for the fourth run of the inning that upped Tulsa’s lead to 5-1.
The Drillers added their rinal run in the seventh inning as Outman led off with a base hit and eventually scored on another hit from Avelino.
Four Tulsa relievers combined to blank the RockHounds over the final five innings.
Austin Drury replaced Rooney on the mound for the Drillers to open the fifth inning and pitched two scoreless frames to pick up the win that improved his record to 4-1.
Keegan Curtis, Cameron Gibbens and Jose Hernandez combined for one scoreless inning each to finish the victory.
HIGHLIGHTS AND HAPPENINGS:
*Rooney had a solid outing, surrendering just the unearned run in the first inning. The lefthander gave up only three hits and one walk while striking out six, one below a season high.
*Curtis made his Drillers debut in the game and pitched a scoreless seventh inning. The right-hander pitched in 14 games with Amarillo this season and was signed as a free agent by the Los Angeles Dodgers.
*Mann was thrown out trying to steal home in the seventh inning on the backend of a double steal attempt with Avelino.
*Tulsa matched a season high by committing three errors in the game. It is the fourth time this season they have had three errors.
*Drillers pitchers have limited Midland to a total of just 31 hits in the first five games of the six-game series.
The Drillers will conclude their series with the RockHounds, and the first-half of the season, on Sunday afternoon. First pitch on Sunday is scheduled for 2:00 p.m. at Midland’s Momentum Bank Ballpark. The pitching matchup is expected to be:
Tulsa – RHP Landon Knack (2-4, 3.86 ERA)
Midland – TBA