Tulsa’s offensive struggles over their first four games became a distant memory on Monday night as they drilled a season-high four homeruns in a resounding 10-1 victory over the Missions in front of 2,588 at Nelson Wolff Stadium. The Drillers had scored a total of only two runs in their first four games of the season. Kyle Farmer and Erisbel Arruebarrena hit two home runs apiece in the victory for Tulsa.
Tulsa’s offensive explosion erased an early deficit as the Missions scored their lone run in the bottom of the first inning with lead-off hitter Nelson Ward singling sharply up the middle. Ward would promptly steal his fourth base in the last two days and would then eventually score on Auston’s Bousfield’s sacrifice fly to right. It would be the only time San Antonio (2-3) would threaten.
The Drillers would respond by plating their first run inthe top of the third frame with Brandon Trinkwon and Frankoff both delivering one-out singles. Trinkwon would eventually come around to score on Devin Ahart’s sacrifice fly to deep left field to tie the score 1-1.
Tulsa captured the lead 2-1 a few innings later with Farmer launching his first homer of the year, a solo shot down the left field line. Erisbel Arruebarrena began the fifth inning by adding a solo shot of his own for a 3-1 Drillers margin that chased San Antonio starter Johnny Hellweg (0-1).
“I didn’t feel as though Hellweg threw a bad game.” San Antonio manager Phillip Wellman said. “He made a mistake or two but we will work on that and he will come out next time with better results.”
Tulsa officially tucked the game away by exploding for a five-run seventh inning against Missions reliever Kyle Bartsch as Yadir Drake and Arruebarrena opened the inning with back-to-back singles. A sacrifice fly from Trinkwon brought Drake home before a two-out single from Ahart plated Arruebarrana to increase the lead to 5-1. After Willie Calhoun singled to keep the inning going, Farmer belted a drive that just cleared the left field foul pole to increase the margin to 8-1.
Arruebarrena smacked another solo shot inthe top of the eighth for Tulsa (2-3) who also banged out a season-high 17 hits in the win. Both Farmer and Arruebarrena finished with three hits in the game and every Tulsa starter had at least one hit.
Yeison Ascencio went 2-for-4 at the plate for San Antonio, and the Missions stranded nine base runners.
“Our bats let us down tonight and I hope that changes on the upcoming road trip.” Wellman said. “We failed to execute again tonight with runners on base.”
Chase De Jong (0-1, 1.50 ERA) will take the mound for Tulsa against Fabio Castillo (0-1, 4.50 ERA) in the series finale which will begin at 7:05pm.
San Antonio Missions Notes: San Diego announced a couple of roster moves on Monday with INF Duanel Jones being released to make room for INF Mike Olt, who was transferred from Triple-A El Paso.
Olt, a former star at UCONN, played in 95 games for Frisco in 2012 batting .288 (102-for-354) with 17 doubles, one triple, 28 homers, 82 RBI and scoring 65 runs. Olt split time in the majors with three different clubs: Texas, Chicago (NL) and Chicago (AL). He struck out in his only at-bat on Monday.
Manager Phillip Wellman also announced that OF Nick Torres would most likely return to the field in the Missions first road series in Springfield this weekend. Torres has missed three-games since suffering a minor ankle sprain after scoring a run in last Friday’s 5-4 win over Springfield in which the Lakewood, CA native hit his first career Double-AA home run.
By Mark Caul