07/16/2016 10:17 PM -
Whiting, Ind. – July 16, 2016 – After a week where everything seemed to go right for the Northwest Indiana Oilmen, quite the opposite was true on Saturday night at Oil City Stadium.
The Oilmen fell behind 7-0 in the second inning and could not recover in an eventual 11-5 loss to Southland that ended a seven-game winning streak.
The Vikings (16-19) squashed a five-game skid with the win.
After a string of five straight strong outings to start the year, Clay Keltner (Cornerstone / Highland, Ind.) was off his game, allowing nine earned runs on 11 hits and four walks in three innings. Keltner took the loss to slip to 3-3 after turning in the shortest outing by an Oilmen starter this season.
“He was very un-Clay like,” Oilmen assistant coach Steve Brewer said. “Usually, he’s very efficient. He usually has great command, but he just didn’t have it. It’s just one of those days.”
Brewer and fellow assistant coach Aaron Furman co-managed the Oilmen, filling in for manager Adam Enright.
The Vikings had two outs and nobody on in the second inning, before seven straight reached and five crossed the plate. The Oilmen chipped away with two unearned runs in the bottom of the second after Bo Fletcher reached on an error that scored a run and Tyler Srocyznski stroked a run-scoring single.
However, Southland built the lead back to seven by scoring two more against Keltner in the third, his final inning of work.
“We wanted him to eat up a couple innings, because we only had two or three bullpen guys,” Brewer said. “He ended up going through three. Usually with a pitcher, maybe it’s that first inning that he’ll have trouble with and then calm down, but he had trouble in the second too and then we just wanted to get him through the third.”
Luke Jaksich (St. Joseph’s College / St. John, Ind.) was the bright spot of the day for the Oilmen, throwing four innings and allowing just one run on three hits while striking out five.
“Jaksich came in and did a pretty awesome job,” Brewer said. “His stuff was sharp, probably the best I’ve seen him this year so far. We needed to stop the bleeding. We still had a chance in the game, and I thought we were going to come back and make something happen.”
Southland starter Mario Samuel made sure there would be no come-from-behind heroics as he heaved seven innings and scattered seven hits while allowing four runs (one earned). He picked up the win to up his record to 2-2.
Max Siedlecki (New Mexico Highlands / Evanston, Ill.) threw a scoreless eighth before Jay Gutierrez (McKendree / Oak Lawn, Ill.) allowed one run on four hits in the ninth.
The Oilmen (22-16) scored twice on a two-run double by Chase Fieldhouse (St. Joseph’s College / St. John, Ind.) in the fifth and notched their final run on a single by Cory Krolikowski (Minnesota Duluth / Bartlett, Ill.) in the ninth.
Stefano Belmonte (Florida Gulf Coast / Munster, Ind.) enjoyed his sixth multi-hit performance in his last seven games. Josh Mutter (Northern Illinois / Frankfort, Ill.) and Jordan Flint (Eastern Illinois / Bartlett, Ill.) had two hits apiece.
Jalin McMillan recorded five hits for Southland, while Austin Blazevic finished with four.
With Joliet beating DuPage County on Saturday, the Oilmen are ½ game ahead of the Admirals and Hounds for the top spot in the MCL. They’ll need to win on Sunday afternoon against Joliet to remain in first. It’s family Sunday with $2 lawn seats available and all kids getting the chance to run the bases after the game. The game begins at 4 p.m.