TULSA, OKLAHOMA (AUGUST 16, 2014) - Both starting pitchers limited runs through the first seven innings, but a five-run frame for the Frisco RoughRiders in the ninth inning made scoreboard look comparatively lopsided as the 'Riders knocked off the Tulsa Drillers by an 8-2 final for the second night in a row at ONEOK Field.
Tulsa made Frisco sweat when Jayson Langfels belted a solo home run to center off reliever Francisco Mendoza in the eighth to make the score 3-2.
In need of insurance, the RoughRiders were aided by Tulsa shortstop Taylor Featherston, who committed a costly error on a groundball by Nick Williams. The error of the night on the Drillers kept the inning alive, and in hindsight, broke the dam as the 'Riders would go on to score five unearned runs to put the game away.
Nomar Mazara ripped his second extra-base hit of the night one batter later to score both Williams and Joey Gallo, who had reached on a walk from Tulsa reliever Cole White.
Mazara's two-RBI double kicked off a run of four straight hits that included an RBI single from Teodoro Martinez (to extend his hitting streak to a season-high 10 games) and another two-RBI double from Odubel Herrera.
With the win, Frisco (72-52; 32-23) clinches the three-game series against the Drillers with one game yet to play. The RoughRiders are now 8-2 against Tulsa on the season.
Tulsa (61-62; 23-31) continues its second-half collapse and is now on a three-game slide. The first half champions in the North Division have yet to defeat the 'Riders at ONEOK Field this season.
Tulsa right-hander Eddie Butler (5-8) started on the bump for the Drillers. A top prospect in the Colorado Rockies organization, Butler struggled against the RoughRiders in his first appearance of the season against Frisco on August 10.
While Butler allowed fewer runs and hits to the 'Riders in the second go-around, Frisco twice took the Tulsa hurler deep to claim an early lead.
In the second, Mazara grooved a ball to left-center for his second Double-A home run and 21st of the season. The blast also scored Williams, who made his RoughRiders debut on Saturday night and played in left field. Williams batted sixth in the lineup and smoked a double in his first Texas League at-bat.
Two innings later, Gallo led off the fourth with a bang on a solo shot to right. It was the first dinger of the week for Gallo, who now has 39 on the season and 18 in the Texas League.
Between the pair of Frisco homers, Tulsa's Trever Story sent one out of the park off Alex "Chi Chi" Gonzalez (7-3) to get the Drillers on the board. Story, a native of Irving, Texas, has homered in both games of the series and has cracked three long balls in five games against the 'Riders.
Story's moon shot was also the first allowed by Gonzalez at the Double-A level (he debuted on June 10). Gonzalez last gave up a home run on May 25 with Advanced-A Myrtle Beach.
Gonzalez proved adept in tight situations and worked himself out jams on numerous occasions. The right-hander struck out two consecutively in the second to strand runners on second and third.
With a runner on third in the fifth, the 'Riders threw Chris O'Dowd out at the plate on a fielder's choice groundball to Gallo, who made a wonderful leaping grab to keep the ball in the infield.
For the first time in his Double-A career, Gonzalez worked into the seventh inning. After he abandoned another runner third in the previous frame, Gonzalez' pitch count exceeded 100 in the seventh.
The 'Riders elected to stick with the 2013 first round draft choice even when he allowed a single and hit a batter to put the tying runs aboard with one out. Gonzalez won an extended battle with Ryan Casteel and struck out the switch-hitter to reward the coaching staff for their faith.
Gonzalez, who pitched collegiately at Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, performed in front of a host of friends and family and earned his sixth straight win with the RoughRiders.
On the other end, Butler did not allow a base hit after the Gallo home run in the fourth inning. Like Gonzalez, he too pitched seven innings, but the Tulsa offense could not produce the run support to overtake the 'Riders.
The RoughRiders and Drillers play for the final time in the regular season on Sunday at 7:05 p.m. in Tulsa. Coverage begins with the Frisco RoughRiders Pregame Show at 6:40 p.m. on www.ridersbaseball.com. For tickets to see the 'Riders in 2014, call 972-731-9200, e-mail Info@RidersBaseball.com or visit www.ridersbaseball.com.