Drillers drop Naturals in extra innings
SPRINGDALE — Tulsa shortstop Errol Robinson took advantage of a slightly elevated Yunior Marte fastball and lifted the Drillers Saturday night.
Robinson’s 2-out RBI basehit in the 12th inning gifted the Drillers a 2-1 over the Naturals (51-48). The eventual game-winner was a rare key hit in the ballgame as Tulsa finished the night 3-for-9 with runners in scoring position. The Naturals went 0-for-11.
“We’re just not hitting,” Naturals manager Vance Wilson said. “The guys are working hard, unfortunately it’s just all about approach, mental strength. It’s the grind of the summer, and we’ve got some guys figuring out what AA-ball is all about.”
Northwest Arkansas plated its lone run of the night in the second inning as catcher Nick Dini raced home on Tulsa’s Mitchell White’s wild pitch. Samir Duenez led the Naturals offensively with a pair of hits in six at-bats, but, as a team, the Naturals left 11 men on base.
Wilson said the Naturals’ night at the plate with men on comes down to approach. Northwest Arkansas was two runners shy of tying its season-high for men left on base.
“When you get in bad counts, it doesn’t matter if there’s runners on or no runners on, your chance of success goes down,” Wilson said. “We just have to be a little stronger mentally.”
Marte (0-1, 5.93 ERA), who joined Northwest Arkansas toward the end of June, was tagged with the loss. Marte surrendered a pair of hits, including Robinson’s game-winner, walked five and stuck out three in three innings.
“I thought he did great. I thought there were a couple of pitches he didn’t get,” Wilson said. “Tip your cap to Robinson, he got a ball a little up. He was getting toward the end of his outing, so he was tired, but I thought he battled great.”
Northwest Arkansas wraps up its short homestand
with the Drillers today before heading to Little Rock for a three-game set with the Travelers to begin next week.
■ Tulsa’s Peter O’Brien watched a curveball for a strike pass him by in the top of the sixth inning. O’Brien dug back into the box unaware the pitch was a called strike three. He was the second out of the inning. Tulsa ultimately stranded the potential go-ahead run on third base.
■ Naturals reliever Zach Lovvorn lost control of and dropped the baseball as he prepared to deliver a pitch to home plate in the eighth inning. Drillers leadoff hitter Tim Locastro singled up the middle on the next pitch.
On Deck: The Naturals return to Arvest Ballpark today to close out a four-game set with the Drillers. Northwest Arkansas will look to salvage a series split with RHP Josh Staumont (0-2, 8.22 ERA) getting the start.
Today’s Promotion: All kids 12 years old and younger eat free. Kids will receive a voucher for a hot dog, chips and 12 oz. soda as they enter the gates courtesy of Tyson Foods, Inc. Kids of all ages will also be able to run the bases following the game.
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