Cards Clinch North Division Title

Slugger Mark Hamilton had a big night at the plate as the Springfield Cardinals clinched just their second playoff appearance in franchise history, defeating the Tulsa Drillers in convincing fashion, winning 10-2 on Friday night at Drillers Stadium.

The win for Springfield breaks the first-half North Division tie, that saw the Cards and Drillers finish with identical 38-32 records. Trey Hearne did it with the arm and the bat, tossing six solid innings, as well as hitting the first inside-the-park home run in franchise history.

Daniel Descalso's RBI single in the first put the Redbirds on the board at 1-0 over Drillers' ace Jhoulys Chacin (6-6), who was rocked for six runs over 5 1/3 innings.

Mark Hamilton's two-run homer in the third made it a 3-0 lead and an RBI single from Tony Cruz extended the lead to 4-0 in the fourth. The blast for Hamilton is his eighth of the year and first since May 21st.

Hearne got touched for a run in the bottom of the fifth, but got it back in the top of the sixth. Already with a home run to his credit this year, Hearne smashed a ball off the center field wall, which bounced far enough away from center fielder Anthony Jackson, for Hearne to go for the plate. He slid in head-first, just ahead of the tag, for the first inside-the-park homer in Springfield's five-year history.

Hamilton did more damage later that inning, lining a two-run double to center field, making it 7-1.

Hearne (8-1) worked a scoreless sixth, then turned it over to Eduardo Sanchez, who surrendered a solo home run to Daniel Mayora, pulling Tulsa to within five at 7-2.

Tyler Henley put the finishing touches on the night, cranking a three-run homer to left-center field to give the Cards their largest lead of the night at 10-2. The home run for Henley is his fifth.

Sanchez came back out and worked a 1-2-3 eighth, before watching closer Francisco Samuel fire a perfect ninth inning.

The Redbirds (2-1, 40-33) will take on Tulsa again on Saturday night, sending Ryan Kulik (1-5, 5.97 ERA) to the hill against Tulsa left-hander Keith Weiser (5-5, 4.24 ERA). Game time from Drillers Stadium on Saturday night is 6:05pm.

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