Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Evansville, Indiana
Missions Jump Out Early, Hold on Late
If the first inning seemed like a bad dream for the Tulsa Drillers, the second frame must have felt like a recurring nightmare. After the Missions scored three runs on the strength of five hits and an error in their first go around, they followed up with three more in the second inning to take a five-run lead on their way to a 10-7 victory on a beautifully sunny, 85-degree Easter Sunday in San Antonio.
But the strange symmetry only began there. After doubling with one out in the first inning, Missions second baseman Eric Sogard moved to third on center fielder Cedric Hunter's infield single and scored on a throwing error by Tulsa starter Esmil Rogers. In the second inning, Sogard again doubled with one out, advanced on another infield single by Hunter and scored on Roger's second throwing error in as many innings.
To extend the parallels even farther, Missions catcher Mitch Canham also doubled in the first inning, and followed up with second double of his own in the second. As a team, the Missions notched three doubles in the first, two in the second and one in the third, totaling six two-baggers in their first 19 plate appearances. They benefitted from a season-high 15 hits and were aided by another very poor defensive showing from their opponent, as the Drillers committed five errors. It marked the third time in the first four games of the season that the visiting team has made for or more errors. The Missions have won all three of those games.
Seth Johnston hit a deep homerun to straightaway center off the top of the batter's eye in the sixth and added an RBI triple in the eighth to put the game on ice. The blast broke a season-opening 1-for-14 slump for the Missions third baseman. He followed it up with an RBI triple in the eighth to plate the Missions tenth and final run.
The Drillers made things interesting, scoring single runs in the fifth, sixth and seventh innings, then added three in the eighth to cut the lead to one. After Ryan Harvey's two-run bloop single, Darin Holcomb hit a sinking liner towards the gap that appeared to be headed for extra bases. But Cedric Hunter went into a headlong dive to rob the Drillers' third baseman, and nearly doubled Harvey off first. Derek McDaid wriggled out of the inning with another fly ball to Hunter to retire the side.
Missions starter Nathan Culp turned in five solid innings, scattering seven hits without a walk and allowed just one earned run to pick up the win. Brandon Gomes struck out the side in order in the ninth inning to record his first save of the season. Rogers gave up nine hits and six earned runs in three innings, and the Tulsa starter took the loss.
The series resumes at Wolff Stadium for game two tomorrow night at 7:05 pm.
W: Culp; L: Rogers; S: Gomes; HR- Johnston (1)
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