06/05/2018 10:22 PM -
Whiting, Ind. – June 5, 2018 – The Northwest Indiana Oilmen opened up the home portion of the 2018 season on Tuesday night at Oil City Stadium, but it was the DuPage County Hounds who went home happy, extending their strong start to the campaign.
The Hounds upped their record to 6-0 by using a seven-run ninth to pull away for a 10-4 victory over the Oilmen. After DuPage County jumped in front with a first-inning run, NWI (1-5) got a clutch piece of two-out hitting from Tommy Farrell (UIC / Chicago, Ill.) in the second, as he grounded a two-run single through the left side to make it 2-1 Oilmen.
That lead stood until a two-out error in the fifth allowed DuPage County to move ahead 3-2 courtesy of two unearned runs. After the two-run second inning for the Oilmen, NWI didn’t score again until the ninth. The Oilmen threatened throughout the game and scattered nine hits, but could not muster up clutch hitting.
“We’re fouling pitches off in RBI situations,” Oilmen manager Adam Enright said. “We don’t want to be in deep counts when there’s a man on third and less than two outs. Early in the season, you’re battling that because it takes a little bit more to square a ball up with a wood bat. At least we’re getting guys on base; that’s a good sign. Now we need more of an understanding of how to change our approach with runners on base.”
Brandon Hickey (Robert Morris / Monee, Ill.) suffered a tough-luck loss (0-1), allowing three runs (one earned) on two hits while striking out eight and walking five in five innings.
The Oilmen pitching staff walked 12 batters and racked up 13 strikeouts.
“The key to having good weeks in this league is keeping pitch counts low,” Enright said. “If we can get three or four innings out of our relievers and have them finish a game and be efficient, that sets us up for the next few days with bullpen guys. That’s the name of the game when you’re talking about seven games in six days and 5-7 games per week.”
Nick Figus (Illinois Wesleyan / Frankfort, Ill.) continued to be a bright spot offensively, reaching in four of his five plate appearances. He enjoyed another multi-hit output.
“Early in the count, he’s putting good swings on balls,” Enright said. “He’s putting balls in play. He’s not fouling a bunch of good pitches off. When he gets a good pitch to hit, it’s usually put between the lines. Most of our guys are missing hittable fastballs or hanging off-speed pitches early in the count and fouling those pitches off.”
The other Oilmen multi-hit game came from Brandon Petkoff (Texas A&M Corpus Christi / Frankfort, Ill.), who has had two or more hits in each of the first three games of his Oilmen career. Petkoff, who went 2-for-5 with a double, batted second on Tuesday and has immediately been placed toward the top of the Oilmen batting order as an incoming college freshman.
“He’s a really good athlete,” Enright said. “He’s got a lot of upside. He’s getting caught up to speed with the pace of this game. He’s gradually gotten more comfortable and is getting better swings off. He continued to get in the groove today. As a left-handed guy who runs well, he can really help us at the top of the order.”
The Oilmen will be back in action on Wednesday as they welcome in the Crestwood Panthers. The game begins at 7:10 p.m. CT and tickets are available on NWIOilmen.com.
To view the box score, click here.