06/29/2017 7:08 PM -
After winning five in a row last week, the Northwest Indiana Oilmen had lost two of their last three going into Thursday’s game with the Bloomington Bobcats. NWI used outstanding pitching to bounce back with a shutout win at Oil City Stadium.
Oilmen starter Nate Thomas took the spotlight with an excepional day on the mound. Thomas gave up a triple in the first to Bloomington’s Nick Figus, but no other Bobcats would get to third base against him. After allowing a single in the second, Thomas didn’t give up another hit in his seven innings of work. He finished his day with no runs and two hits allowed, 11 strikeouts (tied with Enrique Zamora for second-most in Oilmen history in a single game) and one walk. Understandably, Coach Adam Enright was happy with his starter’s performance.
“He built off of a really good outing,” Enright said. “He did himself a solid and we really needed it. We’re at the back end of a long stretch of games and the bullpen right now is pretty thin. When he’s going well, his fastball is really steep downhill. It’s just really hard to square up because of how steep it is.”
Bobcats’ starter Tyler Carpenter was no pushover, though. The Oilmen had only mustered three hits in four innings against him before finally getting on the board in the fifth. After Noah Davis led off the inning with a single, Tommy Farrell drove Davis in with a single of his own later in the inning. Right after the Oilmen scored that run, it started to rain at Oil City Stadium.
“Knowing the rain was coming changed our plan going into the game,” Enright said. “I don’t think that any situation presented itself where it did become about the rain coming, but we were of the mindset that we need a lead through five. We knew that any time we could get poured on. That run in the fifth inning was huge.”
The rain never stopped play, but it kept coming down as the game went on. In the seventh, Tyler Sroczynski scored an insurance run for the Oilmen when Tommy Farrell singled to pick up his second RBI of the game. Richard Yelnick came in to relieve Thomas on the mound for the last two innings, and preserved the Oilmen’s two-run lead without giving up a run. It was a close game throughout, and afterwards Enright explained the value of it.
“I think it gives us a little bit of a playoff feel,” Enright said. “No matter how the seasons go, it always seems like there’s one pivotal game in the postseason that’s close that you’ve got to execute on. Being in that tight, low-scoring situation give us a little bit of preparation to know what a low-scoring, pressure-filled game feels like.”
The Oilmen improve to 17-11 with the win, while Bloomington falls to an even 11-11. Nate Thomas got the win and is now 2-1 while Richard Yelnick picked up his first save. Tyler Carpenter took the loss and is 0-1. The Oilmen are back on the field Friday to face the Joliet Admirals at Oil City Stadium at 8:10 p.m.
To see the box score from tonight's game, Click on "Download Attachment".