06/18/2016 10:20 PM -
Whiting, Ind. – June 18, 2016 – The Oilmen saw their four-game winning streak come to an abrupt halt on Saturday night at Oil City Stadium.
After walloping the league’s best two teams the previous two nights, the Oilmen struggled against the Southland Vikings for the second straight Saturday in a 9-5 loss.
The Oilmen saw a 4-0 lead slip away when Josh Mutter’s wildness (0.1 IP, 4 BB, 4 R, 2 ER) led to a four-run Southland sixth, then wobbly Oilmen defense caused a four-run Vikings seventh.
Eric Frontzak (1-2) was hit with the loss after watching the defense implode behind him in the seventh. He allowed five runs (two earned) on four hits and two walks over 3 2/3 innings.
The most memorable play of the game was one the Oilmen would like to forget, as they committed two errors on one play in the sixth that saw three runs cross the plate. Lucas Karz hit a ground ball to third baseman Stefano Belmonte, who fired home to try to cut down A.J. Fuller at the dish, but the throw was off line and got past catcher Jake Perreira. Perreira ran down the ball and threw a covering Frontzak as Austin Lorenz slid across the plate for the second run of the play, but Perreira’s throw got past Frontzak and Hunter Thorn came in to score on the second error of the play.
“The first thing is limit the damage,” Oilmen manager Adam Enright said. “If it’s a throw that’s off line, we’ve got to catch the ball first. You come off the plate. Then, when that second guy is coming around after we’ve made the first mistake, the first baseman has nowhere else to be other than backing up the throw. The first baseman is literally doing nothing, so that’s his job to be backing up the play on the throw from the catcher to the pitcher.”
That play turned a 4-4 tie into a 7-4 Vikings lead. They tacked on another run later in the inning on a ground ball to second base by Jaylin Davis.
In the bottom of the sixth with the game tied at four, the Oilmen threatened to take the lead, but Tyler Sroczysnki was cut down on a close play at the plate on a ground ball off the bat of Chase Fieldhouse.
The Oilmen tried to climb back into the game in the eighth inning with runners on second and third and nobody out, but they settled for one run on a sacrifice fly by Belmonte.
Sroczynski (Trinity Christian / Dyer, Ind.) was the catalyst for the Oilmen offense throughout the night, reaching base in all five plate appearances, stealing three bases and scoring three runs.
Starting pitcher Max Siedlecki remained winless, receiving no decision despite five shutout innings. He walked three and was yanked after five frames with a pitch count at 102.
“He walked a few more guys than we would have liked him to,” Enright said. “That really did play a factor in the game, because if he’s more efficient with his pitch count and goes out there for another inning, that definitely changes things. He pitched well for us and pitched out of some jams. He’ll get another chance next week and hopefully we can do something behind him.”
The Oilmen committed five errors in the game.
Southland starter Matt Ittersagen picked up the win in his Vikings debut despite walking six and allowing four runs on seven hits over seven innings. Southland’s Kyle VanKoevering had three hits.
The Oilmen (9-9) have now lost two of the three meetings with the Vikings (8-9) this season.
Northwest Indiana will attempt to bounce back on Sunday at 4 p.m. against the Joliet Admirals. It’s Father’s Day at the ballpark, with all dads receiving free admission with the purchase of a paid child. Kids and dads will have the opportunity to play catch on the field after the game.