06/09/2018 1:39 AM -
Whiting, Ind. – June 8, 2018 – It was a new day and a new game, but the same old story for the Northwest Indiana Oilmen on Friday night at Oil City Stadium.
The trend of the opposition putting together a big inning against the Oilmen bullpen continued in a 16-11 defeat to the visiting Joliet Generals that caused NWI to plummet to 2-7 on the season.
“After the game I talked to the team about perspective on the whole season,” Oilmen manager Adam Enright said. “We talked about the way we do things to set ourselves up to be consistent, a little bit more so than some of the other teams in terms of how we space out innings pitched and playing time to keep everyone from being burned out in July. We still have 41 league games left. We’re far from sunk; we’re set up to be consistent.”
A dramatic four-run Oilmen rally in the bottom of the seventh to snag a 4-3 lead should have been the story on Friday, but instead the story became what happened after that, when the Generals (5-4) batted around in both the eighth and ninth innings. They scored four in the eighth to regain the lead, then pushed across nine in the ninth to make it a rout. The Oilmen responded with six runs in the bottom of the ninth in a game that went haywire late, but came up short despite scoring 11 runs on 13 hits.
“We haven’t been consistent out of the bullpen,” Enright said. “Everybody we run out there has been guilty of it. We’re going to make a little bit of a change to our approach to how we set up the pitching. We’re going to lean a little heavier on the starters and guys who have put together really good innings. We’re going to bunch the guys who have been struggling on the same day, so we can get them out there for short periods of time to hopefully have success in one inning or for a few hitters, and then build off that.”
Joliet pitcher Mike Santarelli threw 157 pitches over 8 2/3 innings and picked up the win despite allowing 11 earned runs on 13 hits. He holds a 2-0 record this season with both wins coming against the Oilmen despite owning an 11.15 ERA in those two games.
Enright inserted Pedro Rodriguez (Tusculum / Kissimmee, Fla.) with the Oilmen up 4-3 in the top of the eighth, hoping for a six-out save out of his closer. Rodriguez allowed 13 earned runs on 12 hits in 1 1/3 innings and took the loss, his first decision of the season.
“Pedro has really good stuff,” Enright said. “He can beat everybody in this league with his fastball when it’s coming out as good as it can. His splitter is really good and the same with his slider. Today, it seemed like he was not as aggressive as far as how much intent he put behind his pitches. He was trying to be a more crafty, spotty pitcher instead of attacking. For him, it’s about being a little bit more edgy and being more of a competitor in that late-inning role. I think he’ll bounce back.”
Nate Montgomery (Tusculum / Geneva, Ill.) pounded his second home run of the season in the bottom of the ninth, a two-run blow. The Oilmen hit for the team cycle in the ninth inning – a frame that also featured the team’s first triple of the season by Brandon Petkoff (Texas A&M Corpus Christi / Frankfort, Ill.).
Jake Plastiak (Wichita State / Tinley Park, Ill.) delivered a go-ahead single that drove in two in the bottom of the seventh, giving the Oilmen their lone lead of the game. He was one of five Oilmen with multi-hit performances.
The Oilmen will be back in action on Saturday at 6:10 p.m. CT as the Bloomington Bobcats come to town. The first 400 fans will receive a free Oilmen T-shirt. Tickets and more information are available on NWIOilmen.com.
“We have a likeable group of guys,” Enright said. “They’ve been good teammates to each other, even only knowing each other a short period of time. They’ve been enjoyable to be around. I want to make sure that despite the bad times at the beginning of the year here, that doesn’t go away.”
To view the box score, click here.