Drew Avans had four hits and Kyle Hurt struck out eight in the Oklahoma City Dodgers’ 8-3 win over the Round Rock Express (Rangers) in Game 1 of the best-of-3 Pacific Coast League championship series on Tuesday night in Oklahoma City.
The center fielder Avans got things going at the top of the lineup with three singles, a double, and a walk. He scored in the first inning, drove in a run in the second inning and then singled home two in the seventh that helped put the game to bed.
Drew Avans' FOURTH hit tonight scores two more! pic.twitter.com/3kw4CiWyVH— Oklahoma City Dodgers (@okc_dodgers) September 27, 2023
Hurt worked around three walks and a throwing error to keep Round Rock off the board in the first three innings. Two singles in the fourth were his only two hits allowed, which led to a run thanks to a wild pitch in between. Hurt induced 12 swinging strikes, split evenly between his fastball and changeup.
Since making his major league debut with two perfect innings in relief on September 12 at Dodger Stadium, Hurt only pitched once. His Game 1 start was his third consecutive Tuesday appearance, with nothing in between. Since getting promoted to Triple-A on August 2, Hurt has a 3.19 ERA in his 31 innings, with 50 strikeouts and 14 walks, plus a 39.4-percent strikeout rate.
Hurt last week was at Dodger Stadium, getting honored for winning the Branch Rickey Award as the organization’s minor league pitcher of the year. Michael Busch was there with him as the Dodgers minor league player of the year.
Busch was at first base on Tuesday and singled in his five at-bats.
Round Rock made things close with single runs in the fifth and sixth innings against Tyson Miller, the former scoring on a throwing error by Miguel Vargas at third base.
Catcher Hunter Feduccia struggled over the final two months, hitting just .229/.306/.365 since August 1. But he had two home runs and a triple over his last five starts of the regular season, and Feduccia’s solo home run in the sixth inning provided some insurance for Oklahoma City on Tuesday night.
Hunter Feduccia goes yard to give the Dodgers a bit more breathing room in the 6th inning! pic.twitter.com/mZXnehpJdr— Oklahoma City Dodgers (@okc_dodgers) September 27, 2023
Yonny Hernández doubled, singled, scored twice, and drove in a run in the win for Oklahoma City.
Bryan Hudson, Ricky Vanasco, and Wander Suero each pitched a scoreless inning to close out the win.
The winner of this PCL series will face the International League series winner — between Durham (Rays) and Norfolk (Orioles) — in a one-game Triple-A championship on Saturday night in Las Vegas.
Emmet Sheehan was one of four starting pitchers named to the Texas League All-Star team, the only Tulsa player so honored, as announced by Minor League Baseball on Tuesday. Sheehan, who was promoted to the majors in June directly from Double-A, was only briefly with the Drillers, but in his 12 games made quite an impact with a 1.86 ERA, 88 strikeouts (41.7-percent strikeout rate) and 23 walks in 53⅓ innings. Sheehan was named Texas League pitcher of the month after allowing only one run during all of May, and even drove in a run at the plate with a bases-loaded walk.
Home run: Hunter Feduccia
WP — Tyson Miller: 2 IP, 2 hits, 2 runs (1 earned), 3 walks, 2 strikeouts
LP — Robert Dugger: 1⅓ IP, 4 hits, 4 runs, 2 walks, 1 strikeout
Oklahoma City will host the entirety of this series no matter how long it lasts. They can close things out in Game 2 on Wednesday night (5:05 p.m. PT) with Gavin Stone on the mound. Rangers minor league right-hander Owen White starts for Round Rock.