07/06/2019 11:11 PM -
Whiting, Ind. – July 6, 2019 – The Southland Vikings pitching staff may have allowed just two total runs over the previous four games, but Saturday night belonged to the Northwest Indiana Oilmen offense at Oil City Stadium.
The hosts utilized a nine-run fourth inning to pull away for a 14-6 victory, in the process snapping Southland’s six-game winning streak and dodging a three-game skid. NWI (11-11) moved back to the .500 mark while sending first-place Southland (15-6) to a rare defeat
“It was very nice, but I just hope we’re not a team that does this once a week and struggles the rest of the week,” Oilmen manager Kevin Tyrrell said. “We were at an advantage going into that game because we hadn’t played many games this week and they had. They were going to be depleted if we got into their bullpen, and their starter struggled. They were in a bad spot, and we took advantage of it. I’m glad we made them pay for their uncharacteristic mistakes.”
The Oilmen fell behind 2-0 early, but one swing of the bat by Hunter Ryan (Purdue Northwest / Hebron, Ind.) leveled the score in the second. He pulled a first-pitch no-doubter over the right-field fence, a blast that provided a precursor of things to come for the Oilmen offense.
“Hunter has been working on simplifying his approach,” Tyrrell said. “He was loud all week with his lower half, and he focused hard in batting practice the last few days on simplifying his approach. He got some at-bats and that gave him an ability to showcase what he’s been working on this week.”
The Oilmen grabbed a 3-2 lead with one in the third, then the game went haywire as 14 batters came to the plate in a nine-run fifth that saw 11 straight reach base. The Oilmen benefited from five walks and a hit batter while notching five hits.
Malik Peters (Northern Illinois / Calumet City, Ill.) tacked on a solo shot in the fifth, his first home run of the season. He and Joe Rycerz (St. Xavier / Schererville, Ind.) had three hits apiece, while five of the nine Oilmen batters had multi-hit outputs.
The two teams combined for 20 runs, 24 hits, eight errors and nine pitchers (including one position player pitching on each side) on a long night of baseball.
Connor Oliver (Wichita State / Oak Forest, Ill.) made his first start of the season and allowed two runs on four walks and two hits in 2 2/3 innings. Colin Walton (Robert Morris / Midlothian, Ill.) picked up the win with 3 1/3 innings of relief in which he allowed three runs (none earned) on five hits and one walk.
“Connor got to his 65-pitch count quickly, unfortunately,” Tyrrell said. “His stuff was great, but the command wasn’t, and hopefully that’s better next time. His stuff is very, very good and he’ll be able to pitch more than 65 in his next outing. I liked what I saw; I just wish he had been a little more efficient.”
The Oilmen will be back in action on Sunday at 4:10 p.m. as Joliet comes to Oil City Stadium. It’s Bark in the Park Day at the ballpark as all fans are encouraged to bring their four-legged friends for no additional charge. For those who can’t make it out or are scared of dogs, Brandon Vickrey and Sam Oppenheim will have the bark-by-bark commentary on the Oilmen Broadcasting Network.