During the previous two seasons, the Tulsa Drillers’ path to a North Division title and a berth in the Texas League Championship Series was sparked by winning the second-half opener.
The Drillers are hoping that history repeats after they opened the second half with an 8-2 victory over the Frisco RoughRiders on Tuesday at ONEOK Field.
Tulsa (38-32) has won all five meetings with Frisco (33-37) this season going into the finale of their three-game series at 11:05 a.m. Wednesday.
DJ Peters’ towering two-run homer in the third inning gave Tulsa a 2-1 lead before an unusual fourth that began with Drillers lefty Ben Holmes leaving the game due to injury after taking his warmup tosses.
Just before the bottom of the fourth, the lights went dark on three of the seven standards, resulting in a 19-minute suspension.
After play resumed, the Drillers scored four in the fourth. Two scored when Frisco infielders lost Cristian Santana’s two-out pop fly in the lights, with the ball landing in shallow center field, just beyond the infield dirt.
Santana was credited with a two-RBI single and advanced to second on catcher Chuck Moorman’s errant throw. Chris Parmelee followed with a single that drove in Santana for a 6-1 lead.
Carlos Rincon began the fourth-inning outburst with a single and after two groundouts scored on Cody Thomas’ single. Keibert Ruiz then drew a walk from starter Jonathan Hernandez (2-6), who was then pulled from the game.
The break on the lost pop-up helped offset the Drillers leaving the bases loaded in the first two innings.
After Holmes left, reliever Ryan Moseley (2-0) pitched two shutout innings and was followed by Nolan Long, who struck out five of the 10 batters he faced over 2 2/3 innings. Chris Nunn worked the last 1 1/3 innings to close out the win.
Christian Lopes’ leadoff homer in the eighth off Long cut Tulsa’s lead to 6-2, but then the Drillers answered with homers from Rincon and Zach McKinstry.
Frisco opened the scoring in the third as Brendon Davis led off with a double off the left-center wall and raced home on Josh Altmann’s two-out single.
While the Drillers have won six of their last eight, the RoughRiders are heading in the other direction with 10 losses in their last 11 games.