05/28/2016 4:36 PM -
Lemont, Ill. – May 28, 2016 – For the second consecutive day, the Northwest Indiana Oilmen received a quality pitching performance.
Also for the second straight day, it wasn’t enough to produce an Oilmen win.
Northwest Indiana fell 9-3 to the DuPage County Hounds on Saturday to drop to 0-2. This marks the first time in the successful history of the franchise – which dates back to 2012 – that the Oilmen are two games below .500.
Starting pitcher Clay Keltner (Cornerstone / Highland, Ind.) hurled five innings and allowed two runs on six hits while striking out five and walking one.
“The first positive is Clay,” Oilmen manager Adam Enright said. “He was throwing all of his pitches for strikes. He wasn’t just throwing a bunch of strikes and they weren’t doing anything with it, he was keeping them off balance. That’s traditionally a pretty good hitting team.”
The key inning in the game was the bottom of the seventh, when the defending league champion Hounds poured in five runs against the Oilmen bullpen. Josh Mutter (Northern Illinois / Frankfort, Ill.) was responsible for five runs in 1 1/3 innings, allowing three hits and two walks. Jamary McKinney (Chicago State / Chicago, Ill.) went 1 2/3 innings in his Oilmen debut, allowing two runs (one earned) on three hits and two walks.
“The thing that jumped out to me is that (McKinney’s) mechanics are cleaner out of the stretch,” Enright said. “There are a few things that are going to be helpful to him that we’ll work on.”
The inning, which saw 11 Hounds come to the dish, started with a fly ball to left field that was misplayed by right fielder Zack Forney. Forney, primarily a catcher, was playing out of position because Cory Krolikowski (Minnesota Duluth / Bartlett, Ill.) was limited to designated hitting duties due to an elbow injury, and the Oilmen are short-handed with players finishing their spring seasons.
“It’s coming together right now,” Enright said. “That big inning is probably a little different if we don’t have a catcher in right field. It is what it is.”
Before the Hounds pulled away with five in the seventh, it was a back and forth affair between two of the league’s traditional powerhouses. There were four lead changes in the contest.
The Oilmen broke through with their first run of the season as Forney singled and later scored on an E-5 in the fourth inning. The Hounds leaped in front with two in the bottom of the fifth against Keltner.
The Oilmen regained a short-lived edge with two tallies in the seventh as Chase Fieldhouse (St. Joseph’s College / St. John, Ind.) scored on a wild pitch and Krolikowski scampered home on a sacrifice fly by Jake Perreira (University of Indianapolis / Grant Park, Ill.).
Fieldhouse, Krolikowski and Fewell – the top three hitters in the order - finished with two hits apiece.
Mutter took the loss, his first decision of the summer. DuPage County (3-0) starting pitcher Cole Berry received no decision, allowing just one unearned run on three hits and three walks over 3 2/3 innings. Bryan Bund (1-0) notched the win with three innings of two-hit, two-run relief.
The Oilmen (0-2) return to the diamond on Sunday afternoon for a 1 p.m. doubleheader with the Joliet Admirals. Live audio for both games will be available on NWIOIlmen.com, with pregame coverage of Game 1 beginning at 12:40.