07/05/2014 9:42 PM -
Whiting, Ind. – July 5, 2014 – When opposing pitchers make mistakes, the Southland offense takes full advantage.
The Oilmen pitching staff learned that lesson on Saturday night, as the Vikings totaled 17 hits and cruised to a 13-3 victory over Northwest Indiana.
Keith Mahler made the start for the Oilmen, leaving after surrendering five earned runs on 10 hits in four innings. The Vikings put the game out of reach when they plated five runs, all earned, against Nick Nauracy in the fifth to expand the lead to 10-0.
The Oilmen hosted the Vikings three times in a five-day span with Southland taking all three meetings while scoring a combined 34 runs.
“They’re just good hitters,” Oilmen manager Justin Huisman said. “They’re good mistake hitters. Our pitchers tonight were up in the zone once again and didn’t have a good night. When you’re up in the zone against good hitters, usually bad things happen.”
After Scott Jerge worked a scoreless frame, the Vikings tacked on three unearned runs against Anthony Gomez in the seventh inning. Nate Schneider and Nick Vogelmeier each committed errors to set up the scoring chance.
The Vikings received a brilliant outing from their starting pitcher for the second consecutive day. After Tyler House stymied the Oilmen on Friday, Brandon White did the same on Saturday. With a major league scout in attendance, White tossed eight frames of one-run, four-hit ball. He allowed only one hit – a Vogelmeier infield single – through the first seven innings.
“He got in on us a lot,” Huisman said. “He broke some bats. We did hit some balls hard tonight; we just had nothing to show for it. They played good defense and combined that with good pitching. The few chances we did have, we just didn’t come through.”
The Oilmen won all three meetings with the Vikings in June, but have lost all three games against Southland in the month of July. The two teams will meet three more times in the regular season and potentially could hook up in the postseason. Southland has now won six consecutive games.
“They’ve been hot as of late,” Huisman said. “We’ll be fine. Come tournament time, we’ll be ready for them.”
Portage graduate Kevin Jones made his Oilmen debut, working a scoreless eighth inning without allowing a hit. Jones, who has committed to play his college ball at Northern Illinois next season, became the first Portage alum in Oilmen history. Matt Pobereyko tossed a scoreless top of the ninth despite surrendering a walk.
Chris Sujka went 4-for-5 and double twice to lead the Southland offense, while Steve Letz contributed three hits and three RBIs. Vogelmeier finished with two of the four Oilmen hits in the game.
With Saturday’s victory, Southland (14-8) moves into sole possession of second place in the Midwest Collegiate League standings, while the Oilmen (15-10, 13-9) are now tied with the Lexington Snipes for third place.
The Oilmen were scheduled to travel to Waubonsee Community College to meet the Chicago Zephyrs on Sunday, but that game has been postponed. The Oilmen will return to action on Tuesday night at 5:30 on the road against the Zephyrs in the final game prior to the All-Star Break. The Oilmen will play only one game over the next five days.