07/24/2018 10:54 PM -
Whiting, Ind. – July 24, 2018 – A game that started as a potential playoff preview ended as a night the Northwest Indiana Oilmen would like to forget.
A quality pitching matchup between two teams that are on a collision course to meet in the first round of the MCL Playoffs lived up to its hype early, but Southland poured on 12 runs over the final three innings to down the Oilmen 15-4 at Oil City Stadium on Tuesday.
After the Oilmen pounded out 23 hits against the Vikings the last time the two teams met, matching the Oilmen franchise record for hits in a single game, this time it was Southland’s turn for a 23-hit output. That equaled the most hits allowed by the Oilmen in a single game and was the first time they gave up 23 hits in a contest since 2014.
“That lineup can hit the ball pretty well,” Oilmen manager Adam Enright said. “Offensively, they’re tough to stop. That being said, because they get lots of hits, pitch counts get pretty high early in the game. That’s something that we’ll have to be aware of – we’re going to have to use a number of arms to piece it together in each game if we’re going to win a playoff series against the Vikings.”
Southland starter Anthony Rogers limited the Oilmen to two runs on three hits while striking out eight over six innings to get the win and improve to 5-0. Christian Howell (Trinity Christian / Aurora, Ill.) was saddled with the defeat after allowed three runs on eight hits over six frames. When Howell (4-2) left after six innings, the Vikings held a narrow 3-2 lead.
“Howell was good; we gift-wrapped them a few runs early,” Enright said. “Howell gave us a chance to win. He did what we needed him to do. Giving up three runs on a night like tonight against that lineup gave us a good chance to win that game.”
Most of the damage came against the bullpen, as the Vikings (20-12) pulled away with 12 runs on 15 hits over the final three innings against lefty George Sherman (Dominican / Skokie, Ill.).
Tyler Kenjic (Purdue Northwest / Hobart, Ind.) registered the only multi-hit game for the Oilmen by going 2-for-4 with two runs scored.
The Oilmen (22-18) slip to two games behind Southland for second place in the MCL standings. Bloomington also lost on Tuesday at DuPage County, so the Oilmen still hold a three-game lead over the Bobcats for third place.
Northwest Indiana will host its final home game of the regular season on Wednesday night at 7:10 p.m. against Joliet. It’s Countdown to Pierogi Fest Night as the Buscias will pay a visit to the O.C.