SPRINGFIELD, Mo.–Having already won the series, the Tulsa Drillers entered Tuesday night’s game going for the sweep against the Springfield Cardinals at Hammons Field.
After being being blanked through the eight innings, Tulsa loaded the bases in the ninth. But the comeback was not meant to be, as the Cardinals held on to defeat the Drillers 3-1.
The Cardinals struck first in the bottom of the third. Drillers starter Mitchell White walked the leadoff man who promptly stole second. After striking out the next two batters, White yielded an RBI single to Victor Roache for the first run of the game. Chris Chinea followed with a two-run homer to put Springfield on top 3-0.
The Tulsa offense was held without a hit through the first six innings by Springfield starting pitcher Connor Jones. Luke Raley led the seventh off with a walk, and Zach Reks singled for the first Drillers hit of the night, but the rally came to a halt after the next two batters were retired by Jones.
The score remained the same until the top of the ninth when the Drillers attempted a comeback. Errol Robinson and Raley started the inning with back-to-back singles, and after Connor Joe struck out, Reks walked to load the bases. Yusniel Diaz brought home the first Drillers run of the evening after drawing a walk that cut the lead to 3-1.
With the bases loaded, Springfield brought in Yeison Medina to preserve the lead. On a 2-0 count, Will Smith popped-up in the infield for the second out. With one last chance, Keibert Ruiz hit the ball hard, but lined out to right field to end the game and seal the Cardinals win.
WHAT YOU MISSED
*Reks has hit safely in seven of the last eight games.
*The loss drops the Drillers to 30-34 and 2.5 games behind first-place Arkansas, pending the Travelers result against Northwest Arkansas.
The Drillers will return home to open up a 12-game homestand Wednesday night. First pitch at ONEOK Field for the opener against Northwest Arkansas is scheduled for 7:05 PM, with the probable starters being:
NWA Scott Blewett (3-4, 5.21 ERA)
TUL Justin De Fratus (2-2, 3.90 ERA)