For those of you who have been fully entrenched in the big league scene of the Dodgers and unable to catch any of the latest minor league action, we have some good news for you—the Double-A Tulsa Drillers are only one game away from securing their first Texas League Championship since 1998.
Facing the Midland Rockhounds, the first two games of the best-of-five series were on the road, and the boys from Tulsa left Texas with a commanding 2-0 lead. Led by offensive surges from all the usual suspects—Matt Beaty, Kyle Garlick, Yusniel Diaz and Drew Jackson—the Drillers scored 10 runs combined in the first two contests, and now head home with their sights set on the grand prize of the Texas League.
In Game 2 on Wednesday evening, the Texas League MVP and batting champ Beaty once again led the Tulsa charge, going 3-for-5 with two RBI and one run scored. His double in the five-run fourth inning was one of the key hits which broke the game open for the Drillers. Garlick and journeyman Blake Gailen also had three hits apiece for Tulsa, while Jackson had two extra-base hits—a triple in the second inning and a double in the fourth.
Righty starter Scott Barlow was superb on the bump on Wednesday, having gone seven full innings while scattering eight hits and surrendering only one earned run. He struck out three Rockhound batters on a total of 98 pitches. Right-hander Daniel Corcino came on to secure the ninth inning and registered his second save of the series.
On Tuesday night in Game 1, Jackson and Diaz came up big for Tulsa, as both delivered run-scoring triples in a four-run second inning which proved to be the biggest difference of the game. Righty starter Mitchell White, the Dodgers’ sixth highest rated prospect, worked the first five innings of the contest before giving way to Corcino and Company to preserve the win in the latter innings. Third baseman Erick Mejia added two hits and shortstop Errol Robinson garnered three in the 5-3 victory.
After a travel day to Oklahoma on Thursday, the series will resume on Friday in Tulsa at ONEOK Field. While neither club has yet to announce its starting pitcher, there could be a chance the Drillers decide to throw either the organization’s third highest rated prospect in Yadier Alvarez, or the highly-touted Dennis Santana on regular rest in Game 3. The right-handed Santana is coming off a brilliant seven-inning, three-hit, 11-strikeout performance which sealed the North Division Championship last Sunday.
Friday’s first pitch is slated for 7:05 p.m. local time.
(Follow Dennis on Twitter: @thinkbluepc)