06/07/2018 10:13 PM -
Whiting, Ind. – June 7, 2018 – The Northwest Indiana Oilmen got off to a promising start on Thursday night at Oil City Stadium, but a nine-run fourth inning for the visiting Southland Vikings altered the game’s complexion.
The Oilmen built up a 10-1 lead through three, but the Vikings scored 12 unanswered to pull out a 13-10 victory.
It was a tale of two games as the Oilmen had 10 runs on eight hits against starting pitcher John Hendry in 2 1/3 innings, but reliever Gil Loza stymied the Oilmen to the tune of 6 2/3 shutout innings. He allowed just four hits while racking up six strikeouts. Loza gained a well-earned win, his first decision of the season.
“Loza was throwing two pitches wherever he wanted to,” Oilmen manager Adam Enright said. “Almost everybody was in a two-strike count. There wasn’t going to be a big inning against him. Our chance was to string a couple base hits together and scratch out a run here and a run there. He did an outstanding job, not only throwing a fastball for strikes early, but when he got into spots where he could extend an off-speed pitch, he threw it right where he needed to. He was throwing his curve ball in spots and locations where they were very enticing to swing at.”
The Vikings (5-1) tied the game with a nine-run fourth that knocked Oilmen starting pitcher Anthony Robles (College of DuPage) out of the contest. He allowed 10 runs on 11 hits in 3 2/3 innings and received no decision in his Oilmen debut.
“Early in counts, he was up in the zone,” Enright said. “A lot of the hits in the first inning weren’t extremely hard hit, but that’s the difference between pitching mid-thigh to belt as opposed to knee to mid-shin. If you get a couple balls that get over the infield on an offensive day, they fall. Their ability to get some hits to fall and put themselves in RBI situations is what changed the game.”
Southland pushed across three runs in the top of the fifth against Sawyer Allen (Hillsdale College / Fair Oaks, Ill.), who took the defeat to fall to 0-2. Allen pitched well for the bulk of his outing, holding the Vikings off the scoreboard in the sixth, seventh and eighth innings. Pedro Rodriguez (Tusculum / Kissimmee, Fla.) came on to deliver a scoreless ninth. Southland banged out 19 hits against Oilmen pitching.
The Oilmen had 12 hits and 11 singles, including four from Tommy Farrell (UIC / Chicago, Ill.). Nick Figus (Illinois Wesleyan / Frankfort, Ill.) chipped in two hits.
Northwest Indiana (2-6) will look to rebound from its slow start on Friday against the Joliet Generals. It’s College Night at the ballpark as college students will receive discounted admission. It’s also Miller Lite Pint Night with $2 Miller Lite pints available at the stadium concession stand. Tickets and more information are available on NWIOIlmen.com.
Despite the slow start to the season, Enright said the team has the talent to make noise in the MCL as the summer continues to unfold.
“I don’t think there’s a real need to worry about keeping the morale high,” Enright said. “Our players are honest and intelligent self-evaluators. They see the guys around them and that there’s a lot of talent in our dugout. They are plugging along until they make their own luck. I don’t think it’s ever going to get to a morale issue or a point where they don’t expect to win. As good as we are in some aspects, every day there seems to be something that keeps us from winning, whether it’s self-inflicted or a team just having a really good offensive day in a couple innings.”
To view the box score, click here.