By Tulsa Drillers
TULSA– Both the Tulsa Drillers and Northwest Arkansas Naturals entered Saturday night’s game in a must-win situation to stay alive in the Texas League North Division pennant race.
A strong outing by Drillers starter Logan Bawcom, and a couple of big home runs were enough to grab a 4-3 victory at ONEOK Field, and keep the Drillers in playoff contention.
Arkansas defeated Springfield 6-4 to remain two games ahead of the Drillers with two games left to play in the first-half of the season.
The Naturals jumped in front of Tulsa in Saturday’s game, scoring the first two runs. After an error and a single put runners at the corners in the top of the first, Nicky Lopez brought home the Naturals’ first run with a sacrifice fly. In the fifth, John Brontsema tripled and Donnie Dewees provided an RBI groundout to put the Naturals on top 2-0.
The Drillers broke through in a big way in the bottom of the sixth. Will Smith singled and Yusniel Diaz walked to put men on first and second for Jacob Scavuzzo. On the first pitch, Scavuzzo launched a clutch three-run shot halfway up the Busch Terrace to give the Drillers the lead. On the very next pitch. D.J. Peters crushed an opposite field shot into the bullpen to put the Drillers on top 4-2.
Bawcom got the start on the mound for the Drillers, and he gave the team just what they needed in the must-win game. He gave way to the bullpen after throwing six very strong innings for the Drillers. Michael Johnson provided a scoreless seventh, and Dylan Baker replaced him with one out in the eighth.
Baker recorded two quick outs in the top of the ninth, then quickly ran into trouble. Jecksson Flores homered to cut the lead to 4-3, then Nick Dini singled. That spelled the end of the night for Baker, and Brian Moran was called upon to get the final out. He did just that as he got Dewees to pop up, earning his third save and sealing the series win for the Drillers.
WHAT YOU MISSED
*Smith got the start behind the plate for the Drillers and had a very successful defensive night by picking up two assists on stealing attempts by the Naturals. He threw out Dewees and Erick Mejia attempting to steal second.
*The Scavuzzo and Peters back-to-back home runs brings the Drillers total to 91 for the season, the most in the Texas League.
*The Drillers need some help from their Texas League foes for a chance at the first-half title. With two games remaining in the half, a Tulsa loss or an Arkansas win would eliminate the Drillers.
*Prior to the game, the Dodgers made a roster move that sent Ariel Hernandez to Oklahoma City and transferred Michael Johnson back to Tulsa.
The Drillers will take on the Springfield Cardinals on Sunday to start a four-game series. The first two games will conclude the first-half of the season, while the second two games will kick off the second-half. First pitch at ONEOK Field is scheduled for 1:05 p.m., with the probable starters being: