07/17/2016 6:31 PM -
Whiting, Ind. – July 17, 2016 – For the 2015 Oilmen, a baserunning mistake costing the team a game would have been nothing out of the ordinary.
Baserunning hasn’t been an issue for the 2016 team, but shades of last season crept into Sunday’s game as two baserunning miscues and other missed opportunities cost the Oilmen in a 6-4 loss to Joliet.
The Oilmen (22-17) failed to cash in on a scoring chance in a the second inning after Blake Cleveland and Josh Mutter were simultaneously caught in run downs following a Cleveland single, a play that resulted in Mutter being thrown out trying to get back to third.
In the fourth inning, Tommy Szczasny lifted a fly ball to center with the bases loaded and one out. Cleveland tagged and would have scored from third, but Tyler Sroczynski attempted to advance to third on the medium-depth fly ball and was thrown out by centerfielder Cody Grosse. The tag was applied before Cleveland crossed the dish, so the Oilmen walked away empty handed.
“We ran ourselves out of a few runs early,” Oilmen manager Adam Enright said. “On the base hit to center field (by Cleveland), I don’t know what was happening on either corner, but nothing good. Who knows what happens with those innings if we have another out to use. It’s disappointing.”
Richard Yelnick (Trinity Christian / New Lenox, Ill.) worked six innings and allowed five earned runs on nine hits while striking out four and walking three to take the loss and drop to 2-2. His outing was better than the stat line would indicate, as the bulk of the damage occurred in a four-run first.
“Richard was great,” Enright said. “We didn’t make a play on a ground ball or turn a double play in the first, and those were huge. I would love to see what would happen in the first inning if we didn’t give them two extra outs.”
The win allowed the Admirals (21-15) to climb past the Oilmen and take over first-place in the Midwest Collegiate League.
The Oilmen notched 10 hits, but left 15 runners on base. They had runners at first and second with nobody out in the ninth, but Jordan Flint rapped into a 6-4-3 double play to take the wind out of their sails.
NWI trailed 6-1 going to the bottom of the seventh, but scratched out a run in the seventh and got two in the eighth on a two-run homer by Srozcynski, his fifth of the season.
Cleveland (Central Michigan / Nappenee, Ind.) and Sroczynski had two hits each, while Chase Fieldhouse (St. Joseph’s College / St. John, Ind.) led the way with three base knocks.
Hunter Clark (Eastern Illinois / Granger, Ind.) saw his streak of 18 straight scoreless innings and 20 consecutive innings without allowing an earned run come to an end after giving up back-to-back two-out hits in the seventh. Braden Niksich (Illinois State / Hobart, Ind.) worked his way in and out of trouble over two scoreless innings.
Joliet No. 9 hitter Andrew Stone had three hits and reached base four times. Admirals starter Brandon Popp (2-4) allowed one run on five hits over five innings to get the win, while Tyler Swiggert nailed down his first save.
The Oilmen will enjoy two off days before playing a doubleheader against the Lakers beginning at 5 p.m. on Wednesday.