07/14/2016 9:30 PM -
Mutter delivers go-ahead double as Oilmen snatch sixth straight win
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Whiting, Ind. – July 14, 2016 –Josh Mutter may not be the most likely of heroes in a stacked Oilmen lineup, but it was the Northern Illinois outfielder who provided the biggest swing of the game on Thursday.
Mutter, who was hitting just .233 entering the day, ripped a bases-clearing double in the bottom of the sixth to put the Oilmen in front of Southland 6-5 in an eventual 10-5 Oilmen win.
The two-out two-bagger from the No. 9 hitter in the order came just after Southland had scored three runs against Sam Geraci in the top of the sixth to take the lead.
“That is the sign that you see from teams that do well late in the year and have success in the postseason,” Oilmen manager Adam Enright said. “You can count on anybody. Every night a different guy steps up and helps your team win. That’s something that we’ve seen off and on, but hopefully it sticks with us for the last 15 games.”
The Oilmen also received a big hit from Alex Nisle (St. Joseph’s College / St. John, Ind.), who cracked a two-out single in the bottom of the eighth to drive in two and remove the drama from the ninth inning.
The Oilmen have now won six straight games and are a season-best five games above .500 at 21-15. DuPage County beat Bloomington 3-2 on Thursday, so the Hounds remain ½ game ahead of the Oilmen for the top spot in the MCL.
Geraci (Illinois Springfield / Steger, Ind.) allowed a two-run homer by Nick Wheeler over the 25-foot high wall in left in the first inning. He permitted the Vikings (15-18) to take the lead once again in the sixth by yielding three runs.
Although Geraci had his roughest outing of the year (6 IP, 7 H, 5 R, 5 ER), Mutter’s three-run double allowed him to earn the win and improve to 5-0 in five starts this summer.
“The home run he gave up was a really good piece of hitting on a day where the ball was carrying well,” Enright said. “The one thing about Sam is that when he gets tired, it doesn’t gradually get worse, right away the ball is up in the zone and in middle of the plate. When he gets tired, things get worse much more quickly than other guys.”
The Oilmen beat Southland pitcher Phil Madvek for the second time in a six-day span. He allowed six runs (five earned) on seven hits and four walks over six innings to fall to 2-2.
The game was turned over to the bullpen with the Oilmen leading by a run. Luke Jaksich (St. Joseph’s College / St. John, Ind.) heaved two scoreless innings before James Whiteman (Triton College / Lakeville, Ind.) recorded the final three outs.
“Late in the year, (the bullpen is) always going to be a big part,” Enright said. “You start trying to set your starters up to be ready for those first three games of the postseason. You don’t want to throw guys 120 pitches a bunch of times in July. As July wears on everybody, you’re going to see bullpens become a pretty big part of wins and losses.”
Chase Dawson (Valparaiso / Chesterton, Ind.) banged an RBI triple in the first for the first Oilmen run of the game. He finished the day 2-for-4 plus a hit by pitch with three runs scored.
The Oilmen host the DuPage County Hounds on Friday at 7:20 p.m. at Oil City Stadium. With a win, the Oilmen would move into first place for the first time this season and match the longest winning streak in franchise history.
In addition, it’s Elvis Night at the ballpark with Elvis impersonator Michael St. Angel performing all the great Elvis hits. His performance begins at 6 p.m. with tickets available now on NWIOilmen.com.