TULSA, OK – Coming into Thursday’s matchup with Arkansas, the Tulsa Drillers had opened the second half of the season with two straight losses and three consecutive defeats overall. It was the ideal spot for a start on the mound from Gavin Stone, and the Tulsa right-hander came through. The
TULSA, OK – Coming into Thursday’s matchup with Arkansas, the Tulsa Drillers had opened the second half of the season with two straight losses and three consecutive defeats overall. It was the ideal spot for a start on the mound from Gavin Stone, and the Tulsa right-hander came through. The Central Arkansas University product delivered the longest outing of the season for a Drillers pitcher while holding the Travelers to just two runs as Tulsa snapped its skid with a 5-3 win at ONEOK Field.
Stone was his normally dominant self, allowing just four hits and one walk while striking out 11 in his seven-inning stint. It was the longest outing of his professional career while he also set a personal high with 96 pitches, 71 of which were strikes.
Stone and Arkansas starter Connor Jones were dominant through the first two innings before the Travelers broke through in the top of the third inning.
Stone retired the first seven Arkansas batters in the game before walking Jake Anchia. After a pop out, Kaden Polcovich hit a fly ball down the right field line that deflected off the glove of a sliding Andy Pages. When the throw to the infield from Pages went to second base, Anchia raced home with the game’s first run. On the next pitch, Joe Rizzo lined a base hit into left field that left fielder Ryan Ward bobbled, allowing Polcovich to cross the plate uncontested with the second run of the inning.
The Drillers responded in the bottom of the fourth with help from Jones. With one out in the inning, the Arkansas right-hander hit both Kody Hoese and Justin Yurchak with pitches. He then walked Abiatal Avelino and Brandon Lewis to force home Tulsa’s first run.
Leonel Valera followed with a hard liner that deflected off the glove of shortstop Riley Unroe for a run-scoring single that tied the score. Jeren Kendall put the Drillers in front with a fly ball that fell safely in the gap in right-center field for a double that scored both Avelino and Lewis for a 4-2 Tulsa lead.
It remained a two-run game until the Drillers added an insurance run in the bottom of the seventh. Pages drew a leadoff walk and advanced to third on a base hit by Carson Taylor. Pages came home on a sacrifice fly from Hoese to up the lead to 5-2.
After the two runs in the third inning, Stone blanked the Travs through the next four innings on only two hits.
Jose Martinez worked a 1-2-3 eighth inning before giving up a run in the ninth on consecutive one-out doubles. With a runner at second base, Nick Robertson came on for Martinez and got a fly out and a strikeout to end the game and pick up his fifth save of the season.
HIGHLIGHTS AND HAPPENINGS:
*Tulsa won the game despite collection just four hits. The Travelers finished with six.
*Stone finished with 11 strikeouts and has now reached double figures in Ks in three of his past five starts. It was the second-highest total of the year, two below his season high of 13 which came against Northwest Arkansas on June 7.
*The Drillers committed one error in the game and have now had six errors in the first three games of the series.
*Pages batted in the leadoff spot for the first time this season and drew two walks in a game for the first time since May 29.
*Hoese batted cleanup in what was his first game since being placed on the Injured List on May 30. He finished 0-2 but scored one run and drove in another.
The Drillers and Travelers will continue their six-game series on Friday night in downtown Tulsa. It will be the first of three straight Fireworks games at ONEOK Field in celebration of the Fourth of July holiday.
Starting time on Friday is set for 7:05 p.m. and the pitching matchup is scheduled to be:
Arkansas – RHP Stephen Kolek (4-6, 4.71 ERA)
Tulsa – LHP John Rooney (2-2, 4.60 ERA)