The largest crowd of the season filled ONEOK Field Friday night, and the Tulsa Drillers gave them plenty of reason to cheer. The Drillers hit three home runs, and Sean Gallagher worked six impressive innings as Tulsa defeated Northwest Arkansas 8-1 before 8,660 fans in downtown Tulsa. The victory for the Drillers was their fifth in the past six games.
Gallagher improved his record to a perfect 3-0 since joining the Drillers on May 16 from the independent Sugar Land Skeeters. The former big leaguer allowed only five hits and one run in his six innings. The right-hander has been in such strong form that the outing actually raised his season ERA to 1.39.
Cristhian Adames wasted little time in staking Tulsa to a lead that it would not relinquish. The shortstop belted a solo home run, his secon d of the season, in the bottom of the first inning to open the game's scoring.
Kiel Roling doubled the margin in the third inning with another solo shot. It was Roling's team leading 15th home run of the season. The first baseman is now tied second in the Texas League in homers and runs batted in (47).
Northwest Arkansas got on the board in the top of the fourth as Yem Prades singled with one out and moved to second when Mitch Canham drew a walk. Rey Navarro flied out, but Ramon Hernandez delivered a two-out hit with a bouncer into right field that scored Prades. With runners at first and third, the Naturals made a bid to tie the game by attempting a double steal, but Canham was thrown out at the plate to end the inning and keep the score at 2-1.
It took the Drillers exactly one pitch to get the run back. Angelys Nina hit the first offering from Marimon in the bottom of the fourth onto the concourse above the leftfield berm. Nina's sixth homer of the year restored Tulsa's two-run lead.
Tulsa took a three-run lead with another run in the sixth. Dustin Garneau doubled and eventually scored on a wild pitch from Marimon that made it 4-1.
The Drillers put the game away with a pair of two-run innings against Naturals' reliever Noel Arguelles. In the seventh, the two runs came on three singles from Jaron Shepherd, Rafael Ortega and Adames.
One inning later, Ortega singled home Nina and Shepherd to close out the scoring.
Nina led Tulsa's offensive attack with three hits, while Ortega, Adames and Shepherd picked up two each. Shepherd also stole three bases in only his second appearance in the month of June.
Tulsa will now begin a four-game series with Springfield Saturday night at ONEOK Field. Tim Gustafson (3-4, 5.82 ERA) will pitch the opener for the Drillers, while Tim Cooney (3-2, 3.07 ERA) will take the mound for the Cardinals. Starting time is scheduled for 7:05PM.