SPRINGFIELD, Mo.–The Tulsa Drillers started off the series against the Springfield Cardinals with a good offensive outing on Saturday night. Tulsa starter Andrew Sopko went six strong innings in his first start of the season, only giving up one run on five hits while striking out five to lead the Drillers to victory.
The Cards got the scoring started in the bottom of the first. Leadoff hitter Tommy Edman‘s walk was followed by a single from second baseman Edmundo Sosa to put runners on the corners with no one out. Sopko would minimize the damage only by only giving up a sacrifice fly to Andrew Knizner to give Springfield the early 1-0 lead.
The Drillers answered back in the top of the third with a pair of runs. Luke Raley followed up Errol Robinson‘s one out double with a single to right to tie the game 1-1. Raley then advanced to second on an errant pickoff attempt and then eventually came around to score on a wild pitch by Cardinal starter Matt Pearce to give the Drillers the 2-1 lead.
Sopko kept the Drillers in it with six strong innings, and in the top of the seventh Tulsa supplied him with more insurance as Jacob Scavuzzo drove in Drew Jackson with a one out two run homerun to give the Drillers a cushioned lead at 4-1.
In the bottom of the eight, the Cardinals began to cut into the deficit as Shea Spitzbarth entered the game in a double switch to begin the inning. After a two first pitch outs, Spitzbarth gave up a homer to Evan Mendoza to cut the lead to 4-2.
Tulsa added two more insurance runs in the top of the ninth as Robinson hit a two-run home run, his fifth of the season to extend the Drillers lead to 6-2.
Spitzbarth would come back in the ninth to close it out for the Drillers with a 1-2-3 inning while striking out two to notch the save and preserve Spoko’s first Double-A win of the season.
WHAT YOU MISSED
* Robinson’s ninth inning homer was his 5th of the year and capped off his three hit night.
* Both of the Driller’s two run homeruns came after errors by the Springfield shortstop Edman.
* The homeruns pushed Tulsa’s league leading season total up to 81.
* The Drillers bullpen also had another strong outing as Corey Copping and Spitzbarth combined for three innings out of the pen allowing only one run on three hits.
* The Driller win and Traveler loss put Tulsa only 3.5 games out of first place to keep their first half playoff hopes alive.
The Drillers will take on the Springfield Cardinals on Sunday night. First pitch at Hammons Field is scheduled for 6:10 p.m., and the probable starting pitchers are:
SPR Jake Woodford (3-6, 4.95 ERA)
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