06/03/2018 4:03 PM -
Bloomington, Ill. – June 3, 2018 – The Northwest Indiana Oilmen experienced a hint of déjà vu on Sunday afternoon at O’Neal Park, as a rocky inning in the middle of the game caused an early lead to evaporate for the second consecutive day.
This time, the Oilmen carried a 4-2 edge to the bottom of the sixth before the Bloomington Bobcats scored nine times to alter the complexion of an eventual 12-7 win over the Oilmen.
“Now that we’re going into Week 2 of the season, we’ll have a better idea of what guys we want in what spots,” Oilmen manager Adam Enright said. “We’ve had a chance to see what we have, so we have a good idea of how we’re going to use each guy. Moving forward, it’ll be more situational in how we use our pitchers. It will be more strategic as far as pitching changes now that we reach the second week.”
Much of the damage in the lengthy bottom of the sixth was self-inflicted, as there were seven walks and two hit batters by the Oilmen pitching staff. All nine runs crossed the dish with two outs. Starter Connor Spear (UW Whitewater / Highland, Ind.) left after 5 2/3 innings and was charged with six runs on four hits while walking four and striking out eight. The final batter Spear (0-1) faced was Sam Olson, who ripped a bases-clearing double to left to turn a 4-1 Oilmen edge into a 5-4 deficit.
The other big blow for the Bobcats (3-2) came in the on a two-run homer by Garrett Shea in the second that tied the game. Northwest Indiana (1-4) had scored on a two-out single by Tom Kelley (Miami OH / Orland Park, Ill.) in the first and on a Brandon Petkoff (Texas A&M Corpus Christi / Frankfort, Ill.) single in the second. After the Oilmen retook the lead by manufacturing a fifth-inning run, a bases-loaded hit by pitch pushed the edge to 4-2 in the top of the sixth.
The final Oilmen offense of the day came in the top of the seventh, when the team scored three times including a two-run double by Chris Baker (Trinity Christian / South Holland, Ill.). Baker busted out after a slow start to the summer with four hits on Sunday, three of them doubles. Petkoff had three hits, his second straight multi-hit game to begin his Oilmen tenure.
Sam Gordon (1-0) was the winner in relief after allowing three runs on two hits in 1 1/3 innings for Bloomington.
The Oilmen have dropped four straight games, but have an opportunity to get back on track as they open the home portion of the season against DuPage County at 7:10 p.m. on Tuesday. The first week of the season presented a challenging test for the Oilmen with all five games played on the road.
“Going home and playing in front of an exciting atmosphere is always the turning point,” Enright said. “Next week, we’ll get a better feel for our team. It would have been nice to hold the lead in this one or on Saturday, but now we’ve got a lot of days at home coming up. The beginning of our season is the most challenging thing you can have for a baseball team, because we haven’t had a chance to get together and do anything as a team before the season with players finishing their spring seasons. Showing up Day 1 completely ready to play as a team is challenging.”
Tickets for Tuesday’s home opener are available and can be purchased by visiting NWIOilmen.com. For those that cannot attend, the game will be aired on the Oilmen Broadcasting Network via Facebook Live with Brandon Vickrey and Sam Michel on the call.
To view the box score, click here.