TULSA, OK – The Tulsa Drillers brought some excitement to Friday night’s contest against the Springfield Cardinals at ONEOK Field. Trailing 4-2 in the seventh inning, Brandon Lewis delivered a big, go-ahead home run that gave Tulsa a 5-4 lead. However, the Drillers lead would not last as the Cardinals
TULSA, OK – The Tulsa Drillers brought some excitement to Friday night’s contest against the Springfield Cardinals at ONEOK Field. Trailing 4-2 in the seventh inning, Brandon Lewis delivered a big, go-ahead home run that gave Tulsa a 5-4 lead. However, the Drillers lead would not last as the Cardinals tied the game in the eighth inning and scored two more runs in the tenth to take a 7-5 win before 7,451 fans in downtown Tulsa.
Springfield began the game’s scoring in the second inning, taking advantage of Tulsa starting pitcher Nick Nastrini’s lone mistake of the night. After back-to-back walks, Chandler Redmond belted a three-run homer to give the Cardinals a 3-0 lead. It was Redmond’s 21st homer of the season and 7 have come against Tulsa.
The Drillers responded with two runs of their own in the bottom of the second. A double and a single opened the inning, and Kenneth Betancourt drove in the first run with a bloop single to right field. A walk then loaded the bases, and Leonel Valera hit into a 6-3 groundout, allowing Tulsa’s second run to score.
The Redbirds increased their lead to 4-2 in the fourth inning when Jacob Buchberger’s two-out single scored Nick Dunn.
It remained that way until Lewis struck in the bottom of the seventh. The inning began with a single from Valera, but the next two batters struck out. Ryan Ward kept the inning alive by working a walk to bring Lewis to the plate. He delivered with his 24th home run of the season to put the Drillers in front 5-4.
The lead was short lived though as the Cardinals tied the game in the next half inning. A leadoff walk and a fielding error put two runners on for the Redbirds, and a double steal advanced them to second and third bases. The Drillers issued an intentional walk to load the bases, but the strategy backfired when another walk forced in a run to tie the game at 5-5.
The score remained the same as the game entered extra innings. Springfield scored the placed runner in the top of the tenth when Brady Whalen doubled on Guillermo Zuniga’s first pitch of the inning. It was the Cardinals first hit since the fifth inning. Another hit and an error loaded the bases to set up a sacrifice fly from Irving Lopez that increased the Springfield lead to 7-5.
Tulsa could not make any noise in the bottom of the tenth as Dalton Roach pitched around a two-out walk to close the game and earn his seventh save.
HIGHLIGHTS AND HAPPENINGS:
*Nastrini’s night finished with two outs in the fifth inning. He threw 84 pitches, giving up four hits, four runs and four walks while striking out six. Two of his four walks came across to score.
*Zuniga suffered the loss as he gave up two hits and two runs, with only one run being earned.
*With his 24 homers, Lewis is now tied for the fourth most in the Texas League
*Both pitching staffs put up big strikeout numbers on Friday as Tulsa struck 13 out and Springfield sat down 18 Drillers batters.
*Cardinals reliever John Beller pitched his first game at ONEOK Field since being a part of the Drillers 2020 Texas Collegiate League team. Beller, who attended USC, kept Tulsa hitless for an inning and a third with three strikeouts.
UP NEXT:The Drillers and Cardinals will meet again on Saturday night in game five of their regular season ending six-game series. Starting time at ONEOK Field is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. and the pitching matchup is slated to be:
Springfield – RHP Edgar Escobar (7-10, 6.83 ERA)
Tulsa - TBA