07/22/2014 9:51 PM -
When Midwest Collegiate teams have traveled to the campus of Benedictine University this season, they have typically walked away in defeat.
The Oilmen became the latest victim of the first-place DuPage County Hounds on Tuesday night, falling to 0-4 in Lisle this season with an 8-4 defeat to the Hounds. The only Midwest Collegiate League team that has handed the Hounds a home loss this year is the Southland Vikings, who picked up two road wins at Benedictine University.
The Oilmen finished the regular season series with the Hounds having lost six of the eight meetings. The victory allows the Hounds (25-12) to maintain a slim ½ game lead over Southland for first place in the Midwest Collegiate League, while the defeat (23-15, 21-14) sends the Oilmen into a third-place tie with Lexington, three back of the Hounds. a
Oilmen starter Nick Nauracy (3-3) took the loss after being tagged for seven runs on 10 hits over five innings. Only three of the runs were earned as the Oilmen totaled five errors in the game, three charged to shortstop Nick Vogelmeier.
While the lack of run scoring has been a season-long worry for Oilmen manager Justin Huisman, wobbly defensive has occasionally reared its head as another concern.
“It’s just not consistent,” Huisman said. “When you’re not hitting consistently and the pitching’s doing an okay job, we’ve got to make the plays. If we’re going to win in the tournament, we definitely can’t put crooked numbers up there in the errors column.”
Hounds starting pitcher Patrick Bellinger took a no-hitter into the sixth inning, but lost his control. He walked three to load the bases before Zack Jones lashed a two-run single for the first Oilmen hit of the game. The Jones single pulled the Oilmen to within 7-2 and caused DuPage manager Sean Osborne to remove Bellinger from the game.
A game that at one time featured a lopsided 7-0 score included some ninth-inning drama as more DuPage wildness allowed the Oilmen to creep back into the game. Four walks in the inning forced in a run and created a situation where Larry Crisler represented the tying run with the Oilmen trailing 8-4. Nick McKinney induced Crisler to ground out to shortstop for the final out.
The Oilmen will most likely matchup with either DuPage or Southland in the opening round of the postseason beginning on Tuesday, July 29.
“They both have strengths,” Huisman said when asked whether he would rather face Southland or DuPage. “I think we’re the makers of our own destiny. If our hitters can figure it out in time and we play good defense and keep pitching well, anything can happen.”
The Oilmen will host Fan Appreciation Night on Wednesday during the regular season home finale against the Southland Vikings. The world-famous Zooperstars will make an appearance at Oil City Stadium and all fans will be admitted for the discounted price of $4 with kids 12 and under receiving $2 admission.