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Naturals Drop Drillers in Extra Innings

Andy Pages forced extra innings on Monday night with a ninth-inning home run. (Rich Crimi)
July 4, 2022

SPRINGDALE, AR – The Tulsa Drillers got a dramatic, game-tying home run in the ninth inning from Andy Pages Monday night at Arvest Ballpark, but Northwest Arkansas delivered the final blow in a back-and-forth game. After the heroics from Pages sent the game into extra innings, the Naturals Seuly Matias

SPRINGDALE, AR – The Tulsa Drillers got a dramatic, game-tying home run in the ninth inning from Andy Pages Monday night at Arvest Ballpark, but Northwest Arkansas delivered the final blow in a back-and-forth game.

After the heroics from Pages sent the game into extra innings, the Naturals Seuly Matias delivered the game winner with a leadoff hit in the bottom of the tenth inning that scored the placed runner to give the Naturals a 7-6 win, much to the delight of the sellout crowd.

BOXSCORE

The teams had traded runs throughout the night, but Tulsa was down to its final strike when Pages extended the game. With two outs in the top of the ninth and the big crowd on its feet, Pages worked a full count. After a foul ball, the Tulsa outfielder deposited the next offering from Naturals closer Jonah Dipoto over the left-center field fence for his 15th home run, tying the score at 6-6.

Tulsa reliever Guillermo Zuniga worked out of a bases loaded jam in the bottom of the ninth, but the Drillers were unable to move the placed runner in the top of the tenth.

The Naturals and Matias quickly took advantage with a game-winning base hit on Zuniga’s fourth pitch in the bottom of the tenth.

Northwest Arkansas has now won five of the seven meetings between the two teams this season.

The Drillers got off to a quick start in Monday’s series opener when leadoff batter Jeren Kendall walked and Ryan Ward singled. Kody Hoese followed with a double that plated Kendall with the game’s first run. Pages plated Ward with a sacrifice fly that gave Tulsa a two-run first inning.

Starting pitcher Clayton Beeter kept the Naturals scoreless through the first two innings, but needed 46 pitches to do so.

In the bottom of the third, Maikel Garcia led off with a double. With one out, Logan Porter scored Garcia with a base hit that ended Beeter’s night. Jordan Leasure came on a gave up a double to Robbie Glendenning, followed by a two-run base hit to John Rave that gave the Naturals a 3-2 lead.

The Drillers tied the score when they opened the fifth inning with three straight hits from Leonel Valera, Kendall and Ward. With a run in, they had runners at second and third with no outs, but they were stranded when the inning ended with a strikeout, a lineout and a fly out.

Tulsa went back in front 5-3 in the top of the sixth when Brandon Lewis and Abiatal Avelino hit back-to-back homers in the top of the sixth.

Northwest Arkansas again responded. Matias drew a leadoff walk from Alec Gamboa in the bottom half of the sixth and moved to third on a pair of ground outs. With two outs, catcher Tyler Cropley delivered his first home run of the year to tie the game at 5-5.

The Naturals went back in front in the seventh. Nick Loftin led off with a base hit and Logan Porter followed with a ground-rule double that put runners at second and third. Glendenning delivered his second hit of the game with a liner into centerfield. Loftin scored on the hit, but centerfielder Kendall threw out Porter at the plate trying to score, keeping the Naturals lead at one run and setting Pages game-tying homer in the ninth.

HIGHLIGHTS AND HAPPENINGS:

*The Drillers announced several roster moves prior to Monday’s game. Pitcher Jose Martinez was assigned to Oklahoma City, and pitcher Landon Knack was placed on the Injured List. Also, pitcher Cameron Gibbens was placed on the Development List. Outfielder Jonny DeLuca was added to the roster from Great Lakes. DeLuca was hitting .245 with 18 home runs and 51 runs batted in for the Loons.

*Valera had two hits in the game and has now hit safely in 24 of the 28 games he has played with the Drillers.

*DeLuca singled in the eighth inning for his first Double-A hit. He finished the night 1-4.

*Leasure was charged with one of the runs in the third inning, ending his scoreless streak at 12 straight games. It was the first run he had allowed since May 26.

UP NEXT:

The Drillers and Naturals will have Tuesday off before resuming their six-game series on Wednesday night at Arvest Ballpark. Starting time game two of the series is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. and the pitching matchup is expected to be:

Tulsa – RHP Gavin Stone (4-2, 1.47 ERA)

NWA – LHP Angel Zerpa (1-5, 4.34 ERA)