07/23/2015 8:43 PM -
Lemont, Ill. – July 23, 2015 – Moments after DuPage County had scratched out a run to snatch a 2-1 lead over Northwest Indiana in the eighth inning of Thursday’s game, Hunter Morris lifted a fly ball to left centerfield.
Off the bat, it appeared the inning would end and the damage would be limited to one run by reliever Richard Yelnick. Instead, the ball fell between left fielder Fred Smart and diving centerfielder Tyler Srocynski. It rolled all the way to the fence, as the Hounds cleared the bases to take a 5-1 lead.
Although the bases-clearing double seemed to be only an exclamation mark on a come-from-behind victory for the Hounds, it turned out to be the difference. The Oilmen rallied for three in the top of the ninth, falling 5-4 with the tying run stranded at second base.
“They got a hit that just fell in,” Oilmen manager Adam Enright said. “It was a perfectly-placed fly ball. That’s it.”
Northwest Indiana (20-15) is 8-9 in July and has lost seven consecutive road games.
“We didn’t hit with runners in scoring position,” Enright said. “That was the story of the last couple games. They’re not going to lay a fastball in there for you to hit. Good pitchers are not going to lay it in there for you to put good contact on it. We’ve got to be prepared for that.”
The Oilmen scored two runs on back-to-back bases-loaded hit by pitches. Sroczynski and Brad Wood were both plunked with the bases full to force in runs. With the tying run at second and no outs, Alec Olund lifted a sacrifice fly to right. Donovan Chandler scampered home, but Sroczynski held at second base.
Stefano Belmonte lifted a fly ball in foul territory, and right fielder Shane Carrier made a dazzling, sliding catch. Sroczynski again held at second.
“He said he couldn’t tell that it was going to be foul,” Enright said. “He couldn’t see it. That’s another baserunning mistake there, but that’s a moot point. It wasn’t a pivotal play in the game.”
Enrique Zamora racked up nine strikeouts in 7 1/3 innings. He now has 52 total strikeouts this season, matching the single-season franchise record set by Danny Pobereyko in 2014. He needs one strikeout to break the franchise record in his final start of the regular season, which will likely come Wednesday against the Hounds.
Zamora (4-2) was charged with the loss, allowing four runs on six hits. Two of those runs were inherited baserunners that scored with Yelnick on the mound.
DuPage County starter Joe Palasiewicz yielded one run on eight hits over seven inning to pick up the win and improve to 1-1. Bobby Wenthe came in to get the final three outs, nailing down his first save of the season.
Wood, Sam Geraci and Fred Smart had two hits each for the Oilmen.
The Oilmen are now 5 ½ back of first-place DuPage County and two games back of second-place Lexington. The Snipes swept a doubleheader from Joliet on Thursday.
The Oilmen return to the field on Friday at 5 p.m. at Joliet Junior College against the Joliet Admirals.