07/26/2015 5:47 PM -
Michigan City, Ind. – July 26, 2015 – Trips to the Marquette Athletic Complex have been far from prosperous for the Northwest Indiana Oilmen this season.
The Oilmen dropped to 0-4 in Michigan City and 2-6 against the Lakers with Sunday’s 6-2 loss.
Hobart graduate Brandon Murray (1-2) took the defeat after allowing six runs (five earned) on eight walks and two hits in 2 2/3 innings. Murray has issued 16 walks and has hit five batters in 15 2/3 innings since joining the Oilmen.
“He had no command of anything,” Oilmen manager Adam Enright said. “I hoped that he would figure it out throughout his start. In that situation, 95 pitches is his limit and he’s here to develop into a starter again. Hopefully he can do that. I’m going to give him his 95, and hopefully he’s better for it.”
Michigan City scored four runs without a hit in the second inning. Murray hit two batters to force in runs, walked in a run and allowed a run to score on a wild pitch. The Lakers tacked on two more in the second on one hit. They totaled five hits for the game.
Left-handed reliever Hunter Clark was the NWI bright spot of the day, working 5 1/3 scoreless innings in relief of Murray. The Eastern Illinois Panther allowed only three hits and walked one in the longest outing of his summer.
“He’s always been pretty solid for us,” Enright said. “We’ve been in situations where our starters have been really good for six or seven innings and it’s been hard to get him out there for multiple innings or even multiple days in a week. It was good to get him out there for five and let him stretch it out.”
Fred Smart (Siena / Evanston, Ill.) hammered a solo homer in the seventh to put the Oilmen on the board. It was Smart’s first home run of the season, as the Oilmen now have eight players with at least one home run. Smart went 2-for-4, while Trinity teammates Zack Jones and Kyle VanKalker added two hits each.
Shane Prance (2-1) picked up the win with five scoreless innings of four-hit ball. Colin Armold notched his first save, allowing two runs (one earned) over four innings to finish the game for the Lakers (12-23).
In other Midwest Collegiate League action, Lexington defeated DuPage County 14-8 by scoring nine runs in the eighth inning. The Oilmen (22-17) lose a full game in the race for home-field advantage in the first round of the playoffs. They now trail the Snipes by 2 ½ games.
“The way the schedule rounds out, I would like to have home-field advantage because that would mean we would have to play that doubleheader against the Snipes (on Friday),” Enright said. “It would also mean that the Snipes will have to come back to our place two days in a row. That could potentially be a draining two days for them.”
The Oilmen will seek to take a step toward overtaking the Snipes on Tuesday night at 7:10 p.m. against the Southland Vikings at Oil City Stadium. It’s Two for Tuesday at the ballpark as fans can buy one ticket at regular price and get a second ticket free. Plus, all kids 12 and under receive free admission.