The Tulsa Drillers limited the Midland RockHounds to eight hits and three runs in a 5-3 Drillers’ win in Game One of the Texas League finals. Midland will need to win three of the next four games to earn their fourth straight league title.
Midland jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first on a Jermaine Curtis single that drove home Jorge Mateo. The RockHounds looked poised for more, loading the bases with one-out, but J.P. Sportman‘s liner was caught by second baseman Drew Jackson and Tyler Ramirez struck-out swinging to end the threat.
Tulsa jumped ahead in the second, scoring four times off of RockHounds’ starter James Naile. Naile allowed two triples in the frame.
In the bottom of the third, the RockHounds inched closer when Sportman blasted a two-run homer. That was all Midland was able to manage, however. Tulsa added an insurance run in the top of the sixth.
Midland got two-on with two-out in the bottom of the ninth, but Viosergy Rosa struck-out swinging to end the game.
Mateo had a hit and two walks and he stole a base. Curtis, Sportman and Sheldon Neuse each had two-hit games. Midland went 2-11 with runners in scoring position.
Naile allowed five runs on 10 hits in six innings. Sam Bragg and newly added reliever Nolan Blackwood combined to throw three scoreless innings. Blackwood and outfielder Skye Bolt were added to the RockHounds’ roster before the start of the series. They replaced A.J. Puk and Aaron Kurcz.
Game Two will be on Wednesday in Midland. Grant Holmes will get the start for the RockHounds.
The Vermont Lake Monsters will also be in action on Wednesday, taking on the Hudson Valley Renegades, who beat the Staten Island Yankees on Tuesday to move into the finals. Jean Ruiz will get the ball for the Lake Monsters, who will begin the best-of-three series on the road.
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