The last time the Tulsa Drillers played a three-game series at Whataburger Field, they suffered a series sweep at the hands of the Corpus Christi Hooks. Since then, Tulsa had won each of its last five meetings with Corpus Christi heading into Monday's series finale. Pitchers Sean Gallagher and Dan Houston alleviated any thoughts the Hooks may have had of breaking the recent trend going into the contest.
Gallagher was dominant through seven innings, allowing just two hits, before turning it over to Houston, who came on and locked down the 3-0 shutout victory over the Hooks in South Texas. With the win, Tulsa completed the series sweep of Corpus Christi and improved its winning streak to a season-high, five games.
Gallagher earned his fourth win of the season with his impressive performance, striking out four and walking four. Houston, meanwhile, was perfect over the final two frames, striking out three to record his second save of the year.
The two combined to give Tulsa its sixth shutout in the last 22 games. The Drillers improved their record to 7-5 on the second half and 41-39 overall.
Tulsa's pitching staff was phenomenal on the entire Texas road trip, allowing just four runs over the last six games. Even more impressive, the Drillers held a potent Hooks lineup to just nine hits in their series, dealing Corpus Christi only its second home-series loss this season.
Tulsa seized the lead with a run in the top of the third. Jaron Shepherd led off the inning with a double down the left field line. After two quick outs, Kiel Roling drove in Shepherd with an RBI single to left. Roling has now driven in 54 runs on the season, just three behind Springfield's Ruben Gotay, who leads the Texas League with 57 RBI.
Kyle Parker delivered another two-out RBI in the fifth to double Tulsa's advantage. Once again, Shepherd reached base to lead off the inning, this time after being hit by a pitch. Tyler Kuhn followed by grounding into what could've been a double play, had Hooks first baseman Erik Castro not airmailed his throw to second base. The errant toss allowed Shepherd to advance to third and Kuhn to reach base safely, putting runners on the corners with no outs. After Delta Cleary Jr. and Roling failed to put the ball in play, Parker jumped on the first pitch he saw from Bobby Doran, driving it to deep left field to plate Shepherd with Tulsa's second run.
The Drillers added one more run in the sixth. Angelys Nina recorded his first hit of the series, a single to left, to begin the frame. After a failed bunt attempt by Joey Wong, Jayson Langfels collected his 30th RBI of the season with a double to left that scored Nina all the way from first.
Both Langfels and Wong finished the day with two hits apiece, while Shepherd went 1-2 with two runs scored.
After a day off, the Drillers return to Tulsa Wednesday to begin a six-game homestand that will span the Fourth of July holiday. They will first host the San Antonio Missions for three games, all of which will be followed by post-game fireworks shows, before welcoming the Hooks to ONEOK Field for a three-game set.
Tim Gustafson (5-5, 4.69 ERA) will start the series opener for Tulsa. Gustafson is coming off an outstanding June that saw the right-hander go 3-1 with a sub-2.00 ERA in five starts. Matt Wisler (3-3, 3.86 ERA), who started against Gustafson last Thursday in San Antonio, is expected to start for the Missions. First pitch on Wednesday is scheduled for 7:05PM.
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Tuesday marks Tulsa Public Schools' eighth snow day and ninth day out of classes for the year. The district is deciding how to make up missed class time, and parents are wondering if their family vacations will be affected.