06/28/2016 4:10 PM -
Whiting, Ind. – June 28, 2016 – When the Joliet Admirals made a mistake on Tuesday afternoon, the Northwest Indiana Oilmen were right there to make them pay.
That winning formula worked for the Oilmen in Sunday’s 13-4 victory over the Admirals.
Two of the first three men in the bottom of the fourth inning were retired, with the Oilmen trailing 1-0. The inning would have been over if it weren’t for a one-out error by shortstop Matt Flummerfelt that allowed Jordan Flint to reach.
After singles by Zack Forney (Eastern Illinois / Cary, Ill) and Marshawn Taylor (Grambling State / Chicago, Ill.), Zack Jones stepped into the dish with the bases loaded.
Jones (Trinity Christian / Norridge, Ill.) entered the plate appearance hitless in his first five at-bats since joining the team, but he picked a good spot for his first hit of the summer, cracking a bases-clearing double that put the Oilmen in front 3-1.
“It’s contagious and it lightens up the mood in the dugout and gets everybody a little looser, especially coming off a loss,” Oilmen manager Adam Enright said. “You’re still a little tense and worried about when the next big hit is going to come. It’s huge for him to get a hit in that situation.”
The Oilmen (13-12) turned around 15 hours removed from a loss to the last-place Lakers and beat the first-place Admirals (15-11) to pull within 1 ½ of the league’s top spot. Second-place DuPage County is now just ½ game off the pace.
Jones’s double was the first of many big hits by the Oilmen over the course of the game. They tacked on four runs in the fifth with help from a leadoff triple by Chase Dawson (Valparaiso / Chesterton, Ind.), run-scoring double by Jordan Flint (Eastern Illinois / Bartlett, Ill.) and two-run single by Marshawn Taylor (Grambling State / Chicago, Ill.).
Taylor finished the game with three hits and three RBIs out of the No. 8 spot in the Oilmen order.
“The top of the order is only going to lead off for sure in the first inning,” Enright said. “Having guys who can turn it over and do get on base and not stop those fast guys at the top from doing what they do is like having an extra leadoff guy.”
Dawson joined Taylor with three hits and Forney chipped in two.
In the sixth inning, Tommy Szczasny (Northern Illinois / Tinley Park, Ill.) got in the act by cracking a run-scoring triple. A day after being limited to three hits, the Oilmen had 13, six of which went for extra bases.
Not to be overshadowed by a balance offensive attack was the pitching of Sam Geraci (Parkland / Illinois Springfield / Steger Ill.), who moved to 2-0 on the year by throwing 6 1/3 innings and allowing four runs (two earned) on seven hits.
“He throws all his pitches for strikes,” Enright said. We only had one guy in the bullpen, so we wanted to get absolutely as much as we could out of Sam. In a regular situation where we have two or three guys available in the bullpen, he was probably done after six.”
Hunter Clark (Eastern Illinois / Granger, Ind.) continued to be statistically the best relief pitcher in the league with 2 2/3 innings of scoreless ball. Clark hasn’t allowed an earned run in 13 2/3 frames this year.
“He just throws a ton of strikes,” Enright said. “Last year, that wasn’t the case all the time. He was in bad counts and would give up a lot of hits because he was 2-0 and 3-1. It’s been a complete turnaround in terms of getting ahead of hitters.”
The Oilmen welcome in the Michigan City Lakers on Wednesday at 7:20 p.m. at Oil City Stadium. It’s Ladies Night at the ballpark with preferred tickets available for the discounted price of $5. Tickets are available now on NWIOilmen.com.