When comparing the rosters of the Texarkana Twins and the Tulsa Drillers, it’s a mismatch. The Drillers have 29 Division I college players. That’s by far the most in the Texas Collegiate League.
Nebraska sophomore Cam Chick hit the first pitch of the game over the centerfield fence for a home run. Tulsa added two runs in the second inning, but had to go deep into its bullpen for a 3-2 victory over the winless Twins Friday night at George Dobson Field.
Tulsa hitless final seven innings
It was a heart-breaker for Texarkana. Southpaws Jared Roberts of Hooks, and Josh Salinas held Tulsa hitless and scoreless the final seven innings.
Trailing 3-1 in the bottom of the ninth, Zach Slunder and Austin Colon both singled to right to put runners at the corners. Pleasant Grove graduate Seth Hopkins made it 3-2 with a sacrifice fly to right.
Tulsa manager Tom Holliday then put flame-thrower Adam Scoggins on the mound. The Oral Roberts University senior struck out the final two batters with his 96 mile per hour fastball to earn a save.
“Jared and Josh really threw well,” said Texarkana manager Brandon Schmidt. “That was the difference tonight and the last three games. Roberts gave us six strong innings, and Salinas was outstanding. They gave our bullpen some valuable rest.
“Tulsa had some pitchers throwing numbers we hadn’t seen. I thought we held our own for the most part. We had seven hits against some of the best arms we’re going to see all year long. It’s definitely heart-breaking to lose one like this. We had a chance to win or tie in the ninth inning.”
Roberts, Salinas silence Tulsa bats
The 6-5 Roberts started slow, but held the Drillers hitless his final four innings with five strikeouts. Tulsa’s decisive runs scored in the second on a walk, and singles by Humberto Torres, Aidan Nagle, and Jaden Brown.
Salinas, a sophomore at Wharton Junior College, retired all nine Drillers he faced, with five strikeouts.
Ricardo Leonett, a junior at Western Kentucky, doubled over the right fielder’s head with one out in the third for the Twins. One out later he scored on Tyler Trovinger single to left.
Drillers share first place in TCL
Things remained the same the next six innings. It appeared Tulsa was well on its way to being 3-1 on the season. Three relievers accounted for 11 of the last 12 outs with strikeouts.
“You could see our morale was a lot different than the first few nights,” said Schmidt. “We were one swing away from winning this game, and turning things around.”
In other TCL action Friday night, Round Rock dealt the Amarillo Sod Dogs their first loss, 8-5; Brazos Valley beat Victoria, 7-3; and San Antonio defeated Acadiana, 7-3. No score on the Frisco-Amarillo Sod Squad game was available.