07/24/2014 10:42 PM -
Joliet, Ill. – July 24, 2014 – Over the course of the 2014 Northwest Indiana Oilmen season, the pitching has been strong while the offense has been streaky.
In Thursday’s doubleheader against Joliet, the offense did its part with 15 runs between the two games, but the Oilmen had to escape with a 9-6 win in game one before suffering a 7-6 defeat in 10 innings in game two.
The Oilmen seemed to be on their way to a lopsided victory in the opening game, holding a 9-0 lead going to the bottom of the sixth inning in a seven inning game. Starting pitcher Cameron Linck (5-2) tossed four shutout innings, yielding two hits and no walks while striking out four.
However, the Admirals made the game interesting against the Oilmen bullpen. Andrew Jackson allowed two runs (one earned run) in the sixth inning, before the Admirals plated four runs in the seventh against Anthony Gomez.
Five straight batters reached base with two outs, allowing the Admirals to bring the tying run to the plate. With closer Matt Pobereyko tossing in the right-field bullpen, Gomez induced Michael Di’Viesti into a fly ball to left field to end the game.
Ryan Burvan reached base three times and drove in two runs in the opening game, while Jason Gasser smashed a bases-clearing double to plate three and cap a six-run third inning. Rob Blissitt lashed two hits and scored three runs.
The second game started favorably for the Oilmen when Kevin DeFilippis led off with a double and came around to score on an RBI bouncer by Gasser. The Admirals jumped in front with two runs against starter Scott Jerge in the bottom of the first.
Neither team scored again until the fifth inning, when the Oilmen plated three against Joliet starter Kevin Stegar to grab a 4-2 advantage. The Admirals struck for four of their own in the bottom of the frame with five hits against Jerge to jump in front 6-4.
The Oilmen put together a rally in their final at-bat for the first time all season, scoring twice in the seventh to force extra innings. Nick Vogelmeier came through with a two-run, game-tying single that drove home Craig Dedelow and Larry Crisler. With the potential go-ahead run at third base in the form of James Meeker, Doug Hayes struck out Andrew Ray and Brodie Meyer to end the inning.
Portage graduate Kevin Jones turned in 3 1/3 scoreless innings of relief to keep the Oilmen in the game. Matt Pobereyko wiggled out of a ninth-inning jam to force a 10th inning, but he could not pull the same trick in the 10th. Two walks and a stolen base allowed Kwynn Rury to reach third base, before a Pobereyko wild pitch scored the winning run. Had the Admirals not scored a run in the 10th, the game may have ended in a 6-6 tie due to darkness at Joliet Junior College.
Hayes was the winning pitcher with five innings of relief, while Pobereyko (1-1) took the loss after allowing a run for the first time since June 1.
With Thursday’s doubleheader split, the Oilmen will finish no higher than third place in the Midwest Collegiate League, meaning they will play Game 1 of the postseason on the road on Tuesday, July 29 against either Southland or DuPage. The Oilmen will return to Oil City Stadium for Game 2 of the MCL Semifinals on Wednesday, July 30 at 7:10 p.m.
The Oilmen return to action with a doubleheader on Saturday at 1 p.m. against the Lexington Snipes at High Desert Field in Lexington. If the Oilmen sweep the doubleheader, they will clinch third place in the MCL. If the Oilmen drop both games, they will finish in fourth place in the MCL. Should the Snipes and Oilmen split Saturday’s doubleheader, third place would depend on Monday’s makeup game between the Snipes and Zephyrs, with the Oilmen needing a Zephyrs victory to finish third.