07/23/2021 9:00 PM -
Hammond, Ind. – July 23, 2021 – The Northwest Indiana Oilmen wasted no time erasing the sour taste left by Thursday’s lopsided loss.
The Oilmen jumped on the board with a five-run first inning, setting the tone for an eventual 8-4, seven-inning victory over the MCL Minutemen on Friday evening at Riverside Park in Hammond.
The Oilmen (18-7) had five hits in the opening frame including a pair of two-out knocks – a two-run single by James Harris (UIC / Chicago, Ill.) and an RBI hit by Anthony Fumagalli (Purdue Northwest / Plainfield, Ill.).
“We needed to start strong to get the bats rolling again,” Oilmen manager TJ Marik said. “After the five spot, we went a little bit quiet, but we hit well today for the most part. We were able to put together one big inning and another one where we got three runs, and that helped us win. The Minutemen played very scrappy; they were very tough to beat.”
The Oilmen pitching staff utilized a “Johnny Wholestaff” day with Tom Conzemius (Quincy / Deerfield, Ill.) tossing the first two frames to earn the win in his first start of the year before Mason Kasprisin (St. Charles / Joliet, Ill.) allowed just one run (none earned) over 2 2/3 innings while striking out four. Nolan Lorenz (IU South Bend / LaPorte, Ind.) got the final four outs, pitching out of a sixth-inning jam before working a 1-2-3 seventh.
“It was a great job on the mound all day,” Marik said. “Tom is a reliever and he came out and gave me two innings. When he got two outs, the Minutemen made it tough on him to get that third out. The biggest takeaway from the game was the way Mason pitched out of the bullpen. His performance was essential in the victory. That’s two really good outings from him in a row.”
The Minutemen (7-18) scored single tallies in the fifth and sixth, but the Oilmen tacked on three in the top of the sixth to provide some separation. The Minutemen stranded 12 baserunners as Oilmen pitchers made clutch pitches in key spots over the course of the game.
AJ Wright (Northwood / Griffith, Ind.), Kevin McCormick (Evansville / Orland Park, Ill.), Luke Napleton (Quincy / La Grange, Ill.) and Jacob Ferry (Morehead State / Aurora, Ill.) had two hits apiece for NWI.
The first-place Oilmen will enjoy a day off on Saturday before battling the Joliet Generals in a doubleheader on Sunday at Benedictine University beginning at 3:05. The games will be broadcast on the Oilmen Broadcasting Network with Brandon Vickrey, Leo Staudacher and Kevin Redfern on the call.