MIDLAND, TX – One night after clinching the first-half division title, the Tulsa Drillers followed it up with a 3-2 win over the Midland RockHounds. Gavin Stone continued to dominate on the mound, but in a different fashion on Friday night as the Central Arkansas product recorded just one strikeout
MIDLAND, TX – One night after clinching the first-half division title, the Tulsa Drillers followed it up with a 3-2 win over the Midland RockHounds. Gavin Stone continued to dominate on the mound, but in a different fashion on Friday night as the Central Arkansas product recorded just one strikeout over five innings en route to his third win for the Drillers.
In just his ninth start this season, catcher Chris Betts led the Drillers offense by driving in two of the three runs Tulsa scored in the game.
The Drillers high-powered offense continued to be on display as for the third time in the series Tulsa put the first runs on the board. Carson Taylor began the second inning with a single, and following a groundout, Leonel Valera singled to put runners at first and second. Betts brought both runners home with a double to the right-center gap to put Tulsa ahead 2-0.
The Drillers held the lead as Stone continued his dominance on the mound, allowing just three baserunners over the first four innings while keeping the RockHounds scoreless.
Midland put pressure on Stone in the fifth inning as three singles loaded the bases before a 4-3 groundout ended the threat.
Gus Varland followed Stone and kept the Drillers lead intact as he pitched two innings while striking out four RockHound hitters.
Tulsa expanded its lead in the eighth inning when James Outman started the Drillers half with a double. A wild pitch allowed Outman to move to third base, and Ryan Ward plated Outman with a groundout to the second baseman to give Tulsa a 3-0 lead.
The RockHounds scored their first runs in the eighth inning to narrow the Drillers lead to one run. A single, a walk and a another single put three runners on base with no outs in the inning. Another walk from Tulsa pitcher Jose Martinez forced in the first run for Midland. The Drillers then sacrificed a run to record two outs turning a 5-4-3 double play. With the tying run on third, Martinez induced Marty Bechina into an inning-ending flyout, as Tulsa stayed in front 3-2.
Drillers reliever Guillermo Zuniga entered in the ninth to close the game. Each batter worked Zuniga to a full count, but it did not amount to any offense as he retired the side in order with the final two outs coming via strikeouts.
HIGHLIGHTS AND HAPPENINGS:
*Zuniga continued to dominate in the ninth inning this season as he is now 8 for 8 in save opportunities. He is tied for the second-most saves in the Texas League.
*Stone’s one strikeout is a career-low for the Arkansas native.
*After striking out a combined 37 batters in the first three games against Midland, Tulsa pitchers struck out seven hitters on Friday.
*Devin Mann increased his on-base streak to 11 straight games with his walk in the eighth inning.
*Midland out hit the Drillers 8-7 for the game.
The Drillers and RockHounds will meet again on Saturday night in the fifth game of their six-game series. Starting time is slated for 7:00 p.m. at Midland’s Momentum Bank Ballpark. The pitching matchup is expected to be:
Tulsa – TBA
Midland – LHP David Leal (0-3, 5.21 ERA)