The 2013 season began with a loss for the Tulsa Drillers Thursday night in San Antonio.The Drillers were limited to only one hit through the game's first eight innings and were defeated by the Missions 7-1 at Nelson Wolff Stadium.
Trailing 7-0, the Drillers were able to avoid an opening night shutout by scoring their lone run in the top of the ninth. With one out, Kyle Parker singled. Henry Wrigley flied out, but Kent Matthes lined a double over the head of centerfielder Rico Noel to plate Parker and give the Drillers their first run of the season.
Prior to the final inning uprising, Tulsa was limited to only one hit through the game's first eight inning. That hit came courtesy of Jose Gonzalez on an infield single with one out in the third.
San Antonio wasted little time in taking a lead in the game. After the Drillers were retired in order in the top of the first inning, the Missions took a lead in the bottom half that they would not relinquish. Reymond Fuentes drew a leadoff walk from Tulsa starter Dan Houston. After Noel was retired on a pop out, Fuentes moved to second on an errant pickoff attempt by Houston. The Missions outfielder would score the game's first run when Everett Williams doubled.
Houston ran into more trouble in the third inning. After retiring the first two batters of the frame on strikes, the right-hander issued a walk to Noel. After a stolen base, Williams picked up his second RBI when he lined a single into right field that upped the San Antonio lead to 2-0.
The Missions put the game away with three more runs in the sixth inning off Joe Gardner as the first five batters reached safely off of the reliever. Gardner retired only one batter before Parker Frazier came on and limited the damage by getting a ground out, followed by a strikeout.
San Antonio added two more runs in the seventh thanks to four straight hits off Frazier.
Houston was charged with the loss, but pitched effectively. He worked five innings, allowing five hits and two runs while walking two and striking out five.
Gardner was charged with three runs in 1/3 of an inning, while Frazier surrendered two in 1 2/3 innings.
Isaiah Froneberger was a bright spot out of the Tulsa bullpen, working a 1-2-3 bottom of the eighth.
The loss spoiled the managerial debut for Kevin Riggs. Riggs has moved into the manager's role this season after serving as Tulsa's hitting coach in 2012.
The two teams will play the second game of their three-game series Friday night in San Antonio. Christian Bergman (16-5, 3.65 ERA at Modesto in 2012) will make his Double A debut on the mound for the Drillers. Bergman was the California League's Pitcher of the Year last season. The Missions will counter with Jorge DePaula. DePaula did not pitch last season because of visa issues. The lefthander was 10-5 with a 5.22 ERA for Class A Lake Elsinore in 2011.
Starting time for Friday's game is scheduled for 7:05 PM.