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Oilmen, Lakers split doubleheader

07/20/2016 9:21 PM -

Oilmen, Lakers split doubleheader

Contact: Brandon Vickrey
1500 119th Street 2nd Floor Whiting, IN 46394
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Whiting, Ind. – July 20, 2016 – The Northwest Indiana Oilmen have racked up the most two-out RBIs in the league this season, but on Wednesday they received a taste of their own medicine.

The Lakers used two-out hitting to salvage a doubleheader split with a 4-3 win in the second game after the Oilmen prevailed 11-2 in the opener.

The Oilmen took a three-run lead to the bottom of the fifth of Game 2, but the Lakers scored three two-out runs in the fifth to draw even against starter Max Siedlecki. An inning later, it was another piece of two-out hitting – this time against reliever Hunter Clark – that provided the difference in the game.

“You think you’re one pitch away from getting out of an inning, and they score more runs,” Oilmen manager Adam Enright said. “It’s huge.”

Former Oilmen player Alec Olund lashed the go-ahead single against Clark in the sixth, plating Pat Arndt, who had rapped a double down the third-base line. The Oilmen chose to pitch to Olund, who entered the game hitting .354, with two outs and first base open.

“The only thing I would do differently in the game is put Alec Olund on when the count got to 3-0,” Enright said. “I was hoping they would be mindful enough not to throw a hittable pitch with first base open and their best hitter up.”

The Oilmen (23-18) had a golden opportunity with the bases loaded and nobody out in the bottom of the sixth inning with the middle of the order due up, but Stefano Belmonte hit an infield fly, Chase Fieldhouse skied to shallow right and Tommy Szczasny lined sharply to short.

“You’ve got to compete,” Oilmen manager Adam Enright said. “You can’t get to two strikes and not have a more productive at-bat. You can’t swing at the first pitch and not get it down. If you put the first pitch in play, it can’t be a weak fly ball to the outfield.”

Siedlecki (New Mexico Highlands / Evanston, Ill.) received no decision after allowing three runs on six hits over five innings. Clark took the loss to drop to 1-1. Anthony Spangler heaved four shutout innings out of the Lakers bullpen to pick up the win and improve to 2-0.

Olund and Max Kerr were the only players on either team with multiple hits in the second game. Both notched a pair of singles for the Lakers (14-23).

The Oilmen cruised to victory in the opening game with multiple runs in four separate innings. The first four Oilmen runs of the game were scored by batters who had reached via walks – among the six total issued by Lakers’ starter Chad Mateja.

“Our hitters seem to have a decent plan at the plate,” Enright said. “They have an idea of what their strengths are and what kind of hitter they are. We don’t have a lot of small guys trying to hit a lot of fly balls or anything like that this year. Everyone seems to know what they bring to the lineup and it seems to be a very mentally in tuned team.”

Szczasny (Northern Illinois / Tinley Park, Ill.), Marshawn Taylor (Grambling State / Chicago, Ill.) and Chris Baker (UIC / South Holland, Ill.) all enjoyed two-hit games in the opener.

Christian Howell (Minnesota State Mankato / Aurora, Ill.) went the distance and allowed two runs on four hits and four walks while striking out five. He earned the win to improve to 4-1, while Lakers starter Mateja (3 IP, 3 H, 5 R, 3 ER, 5 SO, 6 BB) was tagged with the loss to drop to 2-4.

The Oilmen will look to bounce back on Thursday as the Vikings coming to town for a 7:20 p.m. start. It’s Thirsty Thursday with $2 Miller Lite pints available at the stadium concession stand.