TULSA, OK – The Tulsa Drillers played the final game of the 2022 regular season on Sunday night at ONEOK Field, and they fell victim to the Springfield Cardinals and highly-touted prospect Jordan Walker. Walker delivered the biggest hit of the finale, belting a three-run homer that overturned an initial
TULSA, OK – The Tulsa Drillers played the final game of the 2022 regular season on Sunday night at ONEOK Field, and they fell victim to the Springfield Cardinals and highly-touted prospect Jordan Walker. Walker delivered the biggest hit of the finale, belting a three-run homer that overturned an initial Tulsa lead and helped Springfield to 7-2 win.
With the loss, the Drillers concluded the regular season with a 69-67 record. Tulsa will now prepare for the Texas League Playoffs and a division series meeting with the Wichita Wind Surge. The best-of-three series will begin Tuesday night at Wichita’s Riverfront Stadium. Games two and three will be played Thursday and Friday nights in Tulsa.
The winner of that series will advance to the Texas League Championship Series and a matchup with the South Division winner.
In Sunday’s finale, the Drillers took an early lead with the night’s first run in the bottom of the second inning. Brandon Lewis drew a walk and scored on a one-out hit from Kody Hoese.
Walker erased the lead in the third. Tulsa starting pitcher John Rooney held the Cardinals scoreless through the first two innings, but he walked two straight batters with one out in the third. That set the stage for Walker who delivered his 19th home run of the season to give the Cards a 3-1 lead.
A similar scenario helped Springfield pad its lead in the top of the fifth. Rooney walked the bases loaded before consecutive sacrifice flies plated two more runs.
Tulsa cut its deficit to 5-2 in the bottom of the fifth when Hoese singled and scored on a rare right fielder to shortstop force out at second base.
It would be the final run of the night for the Drillers. Springfield finished the scoring with a pair of runs in the seventh to account for the final score.
HIGHLIGHTS AND HAPPENINGS:
*Paid attendance for the finale was 5,844. It gave the Drillers a season attendance total of 357,200, the tenth highest total in Tulsa professional baseball history.
*Tulsa infielder Abiatal Avelino made another appearance on the mound, pitching a scoreless ninth inning. It Avelino’s fifth time to pitch this season, and he has been near perfect. He has not allowed a run and just three hits in five total innings and has picked up one save.
*With the win, Springfield claimed the season series with the Drillers 13-11.
*Tulsa pitchers combined to issue ten walks in the game. For the year, the Drillers set a franchise record with 662 walks. There have been 45 seasons of Drillers baseball.
*The Drillers did not hit a homer in the finale, but they still finished the season with a franchise record 196 home runs on the season.
*The Drillers finished with a winning 37-33 record at ONEOK Field. They have not had a losing record at home since the 2015 season.
The Drillers will have an off day on Monday before opening the Texas League Playoffs in Wichita. The Drillers and Wind Surge will open the best-of-three North Division Series Tuesday evening with first pitch scheduled for 7:05 p.m. The two teams will have another day off on Wednesday before playing game two in Tulsa at ONEOK Field on Thursday, September 22 and, if necessary, game three on Friday, September 23. Both games in Tulsa would begin at 7:05 p.m.
Tickets for the playoff games at ONEOK Field are available by clicking HERE.