The Tulsa Drillers took the series opener against the Springfield Cardinals, 6-2, before 3,766 fans at ONEOK Field on Monday night.
After a scoreless first inning from both Cardinals LHP Jimmy Reed (L, 2-2) and Tulsa RHP Ross Stripling (W, 2-3), Springfield (16-15, 46-55) swung in front in the top of the second. Leading off the inning, C Michael Ohlman crushed a solo home run to left field, his 11th long-ball of the year, lifting the Cardinals into the 1-0 lead.
Reed kept the Cardinals lead intact through his first three innings, but the Drillers (14-17, 44-56) jumped in front with a four-run rally in the bottom of the fourth. 3B Kyle Farmer started the stanza with a single, staying put as Reed then induced a pop out for the first out of the inning. After CF Peter Lavin doubled Farmer to third, C Ali Solis pulled a go-ahead, two-run double off the left field fence, catapulting the Drillers in front, 2-1. 2B Brandon Trinkwon then brought in Solis from second with an RBI single, with Trinkwon taking second on the throw home. Trinkwon tagged and moved to third on a fly out to right, before scoring from third when a return throw to the mound from C Michael Ohlman following a pitch sailed away from Reed, enabling Trinkwon to come in on the error and make it 4-1.
Ohlman and the Cardinals struck for a second run in the top of the sixth to keep it close. With one down, 1B Jonathan Rodriguez rocketed a double to left-center field. Ohlman then plated Rodriguez with an RBI double off the left field fence for his team-leading 56th RBI, bringing the Cardinals within two runs, 4-2.
However, Tulsa got the run right back in the bottom of the sixth inning. With one on and one down, Reed gave way to RHP Ronnie Shaban. Pinch-running OF Robbie Garvey also entered the game, taking over at first base for RF Jeremy Rathjen. On Shaban’s first pitch to C Ali Solis, Garvey swiped second base. After Garvey had taken third on a wild pitch, Solis put down a squeeze bunt to bring in Garvey and increase the Tulsa lead back to three runs, 5-2.
The Drillers added an additional insurance run on an RBI base hit from LF Brian Burgamy in the bottom of the eighth, before RHP Jorge De Leon (S, 2) closed the 6-2 win for Tulsa with a 1-2-3 top of the ninth.