The Drillers offense broke out in a big way on Sunday night at Citibank Ballpark in Midland, Texas. For the most part of the 2012 season, Tulsa has relied on great pitching and defense to win ball games with their offense falling into some extended slumps. That was not the case on Sunday as every single hitter in the Drillers lineup recorded at least 1 hit en route to an 11-2 win over the RockHounds.
After squandering some early chances, Tulsa got on the board with a huge 5th inning. The Drillers loaded the bases to start the frame thanks to a Tim Torres walk, Jose Gonzalez double and a Juan Crousset walk. A clutch single by Warren Schaeffer broke the scoreless tie and gave Tulsa a 1-0 lead. Two batters later, Mike Mitchell hit a sacrifice fly to left field to bring in another run. An Arenado walk that loaded the bases set the stage for Ben Paulsen to break the game wide open. The Drillers first baseman put a ball off the wall in left field to clear the bases and give starter Dan Houston a 5-0 lead. Angelys Nina singled to drive in Paulsen and give Tulsa their biggest inning of the season with 6 runs scored.
Midland got 1 run back in the bottom of the sixth after a triple by Conner Crumbliss and an RBI groundout by Leonardo Gil. Houston was able to limit the Hounds to just that 1 run as he retired Michael Spina on a groundout to end the inning.
Tulsa broke out the bats again in the top of the seventh with 3 of their first 4 hitters reaching base with singles. Nina stepped up to the plate and belted a 3 run homer to end any doubt over the outcome of the game and give the Drillers a 10-1 lead.
Houston allowed another run in the bottom of the 7th that would eventually end his outing. Three consecutive Midland hits brought the run in to make the score 10-2. Houston finished the inning and was replaced by Cory Riordan to start the eighth.
Josh Rutledge capped off his second consecutive 4-hit night with a home run in the Tulsa 8th inning to end the scoring and make the score 11-2. Rutledge has been on a tear this road trip going 13-21 in the last five games away from ONEOK Field. Two of his 13 hits have been homers and he now leads the Drillers with 8 on the season.
Houston pitched well with the lead and recorded his 6th win of the season. His final pitching line was 7 innings, 8 hits, 2 earned runs, 2 walks and 1 strikeout. Riordan and Joey Williamson each pitched a scoreless inning of relief for Tulsa.
The Drillers will look to complete the series sweep on Monday night in Midland. Scheduled starters will be Parker Frazier (2-6, 3.36 ERA)for Tulsa and Daniel Straily (2-4, 4.20 ERA) for Midland. First pitch will be at 6:30PM.
NOTES: Tulsa hitters were 7-12 (.583 avg) with runners in scoring position...NW Arkansas beat Frisco to keep the Drillers first place lead in the Texas League North Division at 3 games.