Going into Sunday afternoon's series finale with Northwest Arkansas, the Tulsa Drillers had scored just six runs in their previous three games with the Naturals.
In the finale, the Drillers' bats remained mostly quiet, but they produced just enough for a 2-1, 10-inning victory at ONEOK Field.
After pitching dominated both sides for 9 1/2 innings, the Drillers finally ended the deadlock in the bottom of the tenth thanks to a walk-off RBI single by Jaron Shepherd.
Angelys Nina drew a walk to open the inning and advanced to second on a perfectly executed sacrifice bunt by Joey Wong. After Jayson Langfels' line drive was snared by first baseman Mitch Canham for the second out of the inning, Shepherd came through with a bouncer between third and short that plated Nina with the winning run.
It was the Drillers' sixth walk-off victory of the season.
Second baseman Joey Wong fields a bouncer during Tulsa's 2-1 win Sunday afternoon at ONEOK Field. (Rich Crimi)
The game was still tied in the bottom of the tenth thanks to Tulsa's Kyle Parker. The outfielder took a potential go-ahead home run from Whit Merrifield with a running catch near right field corner. Parker made the catch just before crashing into the fence.
The play may have been costly for Tulsa however. Parker injured his right wrist when he ran into the fence after securing the catch. After the game, the Drillers announced that the outfielder would not be able to play in Tuesday's Texas League All-Star Game. He was scheduled to be a starter for the North Division, but will now be examined by doctors on Monday to determine the extent of the injury.
Tulsa starting pitcher Christian Bergman turned in another impressive outing in Sunday's game, but he had to settle for a no decision. The California native allowed one run on six hits, while striking out two and walking none. Bergman, who has not recorded a win since May 26 despite five quality starts, was also very efficient, needing just 82 pitches to get through eight innings.
The only damage against Bergman came on third baseman Rey Navarro's solo homer in the fifth.
The home run matched Parker's solo shot from the second inning, his 12th of the season.
Dan Houston didn't allow a hit over the final two innings in relief of Bergman to record his second victory of the season.
The Northwest Arkansas pitching staff matched Bergman and Houston pitch-for-pitch for most of the game. Six Naturals pitchers combined to hold the Drillers to just three hits, matching a season low for Tulsa. Sam Runion was tagged with his second loss of the year.
In addition to Parker's great catch in the tenth, other Drillers flashed some leather behind Bergman and Houston on Sunday. Shepherd robbed Brett Eibner of an extra-base hit in the top of the third, securing the ball before crashing into the left field wall. Meanwhile, second baseman Wong and shortstop Cristhian Adames each made a couple of fantastic plays ranging up the middle to keep the Naturals off the base paths.
With the win, Tulsa heads into the All-Star Break with a 2-4 second-half record and a 36-38 overall mark.
The Drillers will have two days off before returning to action on Wednesday, as they head south to take on the San Antonio Missions at Nelson W. Wolff Municipal Stadium. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05PM.
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