06/18/2013 11:04 PM -
Whiting, Ind. - June 18, 2013 - Down by two runs in the bottom of the ninth inning, the Northwest Indiana Oilmen staged a stunning comeback against the Southland Vikings, scoring three runs in the frame and winning by a final score of 5-4 on Nick Bartolone's two-out, walk-off RBI single at Oil City Stadium on Tuesday night.
The win was the seventh straight home triumph for the Oilmen, avenging a road loss on Monday night to the Vikings, as the teams completed a two-game home-and-home set.
Bartolone's single- the only base hit in the inning by Northwest Indiana- capped a wild rally. Anthony Bova fell behind in the count against Southland closer Anthony Andres, but worked the count full before getting hit by a pitch on his lower leg to lead off the ninth. The southpaw Andres then tried three times to pick Bova off of first, and the third time produced a wild throw that went up the right field line, allowing Bova to go all the way to third base.
Jack Czeszewski then walked on five pitches before Andres balked in the first run of the inning with Joe Houlihan batting, making the score 4-3 in favor of Southland. Houlihan then bunted the next pitch back to the mound, and another wild throw by Andres trying to gun down Czeszewski at third went up the foul line. Czeszewski scored on the error, the second of the inning by Andres, to tie the game at 4-4, while Houlihan went to second on the play, now representing the winning run.
After Leiff Clarkson advanced Houlihan to third with a groundout, Tyler Baar grounded out to the drawn-in second baseman Micah Rooke for the second out. Bartolone then lined the first pitch he saw into right field to score Houlihan and win the game.
Matt Pobereyko (1-0) got the win in relief, while Andres (0-1), who got the save against the Oilmen the night before on only seven pitches, had his first blown save of the summer, taking the loss as well.
Initially, the game looked like it would be all Vikings, Southland scored one run in the second, third and fourth innings off of Northwest Indiana starter Scott Jerge, while also knocking the right-hander around with three doubles in the first four frames. Meanwhile, Vikings lefty Chris Chigas gave up only one hit in his five shutout innings of work, striking out six batters.
But the Oilmen went to work against reliever Kevin Hallberg in the sixth, cutting the lead down to one on a big two-run single by Bova with two outs. Southland got one run back in the seventh, however, on an RBI single by Corey Ray with two outs. After Hallberg squashed a potential rally in the bottom of the seventh, Alex Lesiak struck out two Oilmen batters in a 1-2-3 eighth, setting things up for Andres in the ninth, and the eventual game-winning rally.
The Oilmen had only 6 total hits in the game, two on well-placed bunts by Ty Hogan. But NWI took advantage of seven walks by Southland pitching, and Andres' wildness, to get the win and improve to 9-4 overall, and 7-3 in Midwest Collegiate League play.
The Oilmen will remain at home to face off against the Lexington Snipes on both Wednesday and Thursday nights. First pitch in both games at Oil City Stadium is scheduled for 7:10 p.m.