06/14/2013 10:23 PM -
Whiting, Ind. – June 14, 2013 – The Northwest Indiana Oilmen picked up their third straight victory and their fifth consecutive home win by downing the Chicago Zephyrs 9-0 on Friday night at Oil City Stadium.
Oilmen starter Michael Steensen tossed a complete game shutout, allowing just five hits and striking out seven without walking a man.
“I just went out there and tried to pound the zone, tried to limit the press passes and just let the defense work for me,” Steensen said.
The Oilmen provided their starting pitcher with early run support as Tyler Baar and Nick Bartalone each drove in runs in the bottom of the first. After that, Steensen and Zephyrs starter Alan Frank engaged in a pitchers’ duel, as neither team scored until the seventh.
“I thought both starting pitchers did an excellent job,” Oilmen manager Justin Huisman said. “It’s always good to strike first and go out there and have the pitchers working fast and throwing strikes.”
The Oilmen plated three in the seventh and tacked on four more in the eighth to cement the win. The game was Northwest Indiana’s shortest of the season as it took only two hours and five minutes to complete.
Butler’s Nick Bartolone, playing in just his third game since joining the Oilmen on Tuesday, collected two hits on Friday to maintain his .500 batting average. Bartolone’s arrival has coincided with three straight Oilmen wins.
“We’ve got a good connection with [head coach] Steve Farley at Butler,” Huisman said. “It’s an Indiana school, so we’re trying to get some local talent. You don’t really know what to expect, you just hear from the coach and then he gets here and he’s starting to swing right away. He’s done an excellent job for us; he made an unbelievable catch the other day as well.”
Rashawn Tillman went 3-for-5 to bolster his average to .417. Cody Dykema, a Lake Central High School product and Dyer native, picked up his first two hits of the season after making his 2013 Midwest Collegiate League debut on Thursday night. Dykema is back for his second season with the Oilmen after being named the MVP of the MCL Championship Series in 2012.
A three-run Oilmen rally in the seventh inning featured three straight bunts that turned into infield singles.
“They helped us out,” Huisman said. “They were sacrifice bunts and they happened to be in the right spot and they just couldn’t make the play. It was one of those things where I was just trying to manufacture to get a run to take some pressure off Steensen and it ended up turning into a big inning.”
The Oilmen welcome Rockford back to Oil City Stadium for the third time this week after defeating the Foresters on Tuesday and Thursday by the combined score of 24-2. The first pitch will take place at 7:10 p.m. On Sunday, fathers will be admitted free with the purchase of a child’s ticket to a special 7:10 game against Michigan City. Fathers will have the chance to play catch with their children on the field after the game.