08/02/2015 3:48 PM -
Whiting, Ind. – August 2, 2015 – The four-run seventh inning may be the one that jumps off the page, but when Oilmen manager Adam Enright reflects on Sunday’s 5-4 win over Lexington, it’s the one-run fourth that stands out the most.
Lexington starter Noah Lamboley rolled through the first three innings, sending down nine straight Oilmen the first time through the batting order. Tyler Sroczynski disrupted his rhythm by spanking a double to start the fourth, advanced to third on a grounder to second by Alec Olund and scored on a sac fly by Stefano Belmonte to make it 1-1.
After the small ball produced a run, the inning extended as Fred Smart worked a walk and Zack Jones singled to right, before Joe Jumonville rolled to second to end the frame.
“We sent extra guys to the plate and (Lamboley) throws an extra 10-12 pitches,” Enright said. ”I thought, if we keep doing this with runners on base, even if we don’t score a ton of runs, he’s going to get tired because it was an uncomfortable, hot day.”
The Snipes quickly regained the lead by scoring twice against Oilmen starter Keith Mahler in the bottom of the fourth. From there, the Oilmen threatened and did not score in the fifth and sixth. Then, Enright’s inkling that Lamboley would run out of steam came to fruition in the seventh inning, when the Oilmen burst out for four runs to snag a 5-3 lead.
Josh Turnock ripped a key double to center following Sam Geraci’s single to start the seventh-inning uprising. Sroczynski walked, Olund reached on a dropped fly ball in the outfield, Belmonte walked to force in a run and Fred Smart rapped a two-run single to cap the rally.
“I was putting the ball in play, trying to get it through the six hole and tried to get a guy in,” Smart said. “This win is big, but at the same time, we were jacked up going into the first playoff game, and we didn’t come out and play well. We’ve got to forget this one and come out (on Monday) and win a game.”
Heart rates elevated beyond normal levels in the bottom of the ninth, when the Snipes scored a run and had the tying run at second with two outs. Christian Howell induced Tanner Russell into a ground ball to second base to send the series to a decisive third game.
The Oilmen needed a win to extend their season after dropping the opening game of the best-of-three first-round series.
Mahler picked up the win, holding the Snipes to three runs on seven hits in seven innings.
“He’s the Wizard,” Enright said. “Guys can’t hit him for whatever reason. He sprinkles his magic dust on people and you can’t hit him.”
Howell got the final six outs to nail down the save. Lamboley was hit with the loss.
The winner of Monday’s Game 3 will advance to the Midwest Collegiate League Championship Series.
“This group is hard to read,” Enright said. “As much as I want to, you can’t really estimate a guess on how the game is going to go based on the way they’re acting before the game. They come out and take terrible BP and are super quiet and then they score 10 runs. It all depends on what happens when the game starts.”