Drillers win on Mitchell RBI single in the 10th
BY JOSH HALEY World Correspondent
Tuesday, April 24, 2012
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With two outs in the bottom of the 10th inning, Mike Mitchell lined a base hit into center-field to score Angelys Nina and give the Tulsa Drillers a 7-6 win in the opener of a four-game series against the Arkansas Travelers on Monday night.
"This is a great group of guys," said Drillers manager Duane Espy. "They mesh well together and they play for each other."
It was the third straight victory for Tulsa (12-5) and increased its lead to four games in the Texas League North Division.
After two quick outs in the bottom of the 10th, Nina reached base with a looping single into shallow center field.
Josh Rutledge followed with a single to left that advanced Nina to second to set the stage for Mitchell, who was previously 0-for-5 with three consecutive strikeouts.
"It was really tough having that kind of day," said Mitchell. "You really just have to stay with your approach and luckily all the work I've put in paid off in that last at bat."
Mitchell was also a hero from his center field position, making two diving catches with runners in scoring position.
"That keeps my confidence up, knowing I'm able to help my team in the field," said Mitchell.
Coty Woods earned the win for Tulsa by retiring the side in order in the top of the 10th.
The Drillers opened the scoring with three runs in the bottom of the third.
Mike Zuanich led off the inning with a single and moved to second on a wild pitch before scoring on a double by Lars Davis.
Following a walk to Nina and a fly out by Rutledge, Mitchell brought Davis home with a groundout.
Nolan Arenado completed the big inning with a double to the left-field wall that scored Nina to give Tulsa a 3-0 advantage.
The Drillers added another run in the bottom of the fourth when Kent Matthes drew a leadoff walk, moved to third on a double by Kiel Roling and came home on a wild pitch.
The Travelers finally broke through against Drillers starter Edwar Cabrera in the top of the fifth when Casey Haerther led off the inning with a solo home run.
Matt Long and Jean Segura hit solo homers in the sixth for Arkansas to narrow the Drillers lead to 4-3.
In four starts this season, Cabrera has given up six earned runs, all on solo home runs.
The Drillers restored their three-run lead with two runs in the bottom of the sixth.
Matthes drew a leadoff walk and moved to third on a double by Roling before scoring on an infield single by Nina. A sacrifice fly by Rutledge scored Roling to give Tulsa a 6-3 lead.
Arkansas responded with four consecutive hits in the top of the sixth to tie the game at 6-6.
Matthes helped the Drillers avoid further damage by making a diving catch in right field to rob Jean Segura of a base hit that would have scored Matt Long to give the Travelers the lead.
"I can't say enough about the plays that they (Mitchell and Matthes) made," said Espy. "Those were rally killers."
The Drillers and Travelers will play game two of the series on Tuesday night with the first pitch scheduled for 7:05 p.m.
|Drillers (10 inn.)
7:05 p.m. Tuesday
Radio: KTBZ am1430
Note: Rogers State faces Northeastern State at 3 p.m. at ONEOK Field, with tickets valid for both games.
Drillers starting pitcher Edwar Cabrera delivers in the second inning of a game against Arkansas on Monday. MICHAEL WYKE / Tulsa World