06/23/2016 9:50 PM -
Whiting, Ind. – June 23, 2016 – As one of the top bunters on the Oilmen, Chase Dawson has the green light to bunt whenever he chooses.
As one of the top base stealers on the team, Tyler Sroczynski has the green light to run whenever he wants.
That turned into the perfect storm in the bottom of the sixth of Thursday’s 8-5 loss to the Southland Vikings.
With runners at first and third, one out and the Oilmen trailing 5-4, Sroczynski (Trinity Christian / Dyer, Ind.) ran with the pitch, as Dawson popped up a bunt that turned into a double play. There was still a long way to go in the game, but the tying run at third with one out was as close as the Oilmen would come in their third straight defeat.
“Chase is pretty good at bunting; not getting one down isn’t something he does very often,” Oilmen manager Adam Enright said. “If they throw a ball there and Chase doesn’t bunt, it’s second and third with one out.”
The Vikings built an early lead against Oilmen starting pitcher Christian Howell, who labored through four innings and allowed five earned runs on six hits and a career-high six walks. Howell (Minnesota State Mankato, Aurora, Ill.) threw 102 pitches and absorbed the loss to drop to 2-1 in a rare rough outing for the second-year Oilman.
“He was very worried about making pitches quickly instead of just letting it develop and taking his time to make sure pitches were executed,” Enright said. “With runners on, he was worried about the runners instead of executing pitches.”
Luke Jaksich (St. Joseph’s College / St. John, Ind.) was the silver lining of the game for the Oilmen, as he came on in relief of Howell and kept the Vikings at bay for his first four innings of work. He was eventually touched for three runs (two earned) in the ninth, a three spot that extended the lead to four and proved to be the difference in the game.
“He was really good,” Enright said. “His pace is always really good. Guys like playing behind him because he keeps the tempo going and throws lots of strikes. He threw curveballs for swings and misses.”
Alex Nisle (St. Joseph’s College / Schererville, Ind.) clubbed a two-run double that pulled the Oilmen within a run in the sixth. Nisle’s average is up to .200 for the first time this season.
“We talked about some mechanics that are keeping him from being able to elevate the ball and drive it in the outfield,” Enright said. “He’s making sure the balls he hits hard are going to the outfield instead of down into the ground.”
Southland starter Phil Madvek (Purdue Calumet, Hobart, Ind.) allowed four runs on nine hits in six innings to capture the win and improve to 2-0.
The Oilmen received two-hit games from Tommy Szczasny (Northern Illinois / Tinley Park, Ill.), Zack Forney (Eastern Illinois / Cary, Ill.) and Jordan Flint (Eastern Illinois / Bartlett, Ill.).
The Vikings improve to 10-9 with the win, while the Oilmen slide to 9-11 with the defeat.
Northwest Indiana will seek to get back on track on Friday at 7:20 p.m. against the DuPage County Hounds. It’s Oilman Stan Bobblehead Giveaway Night with the first 400 fans receiving a free Oilman Stan bobblehead. Tickets are available now on NWIOilmen.com.