08/06/2020 10:30 AM -
Midlothian, Ill. – Aug. 5, 2020 – The Northwest Indiana Oilmen went from reeling to smiling thanks to one swing of the bat from Conner Tomasic (South Suburban / Schererville, Ind.) on Wednesday afternoon at Howie Minas Field.
Tomasic belted a go-ahead, three-run homer in the top of the seventh to propel the Oilmen to a 5-4 victory over the Joliet Generals. In the process, the team dodged a three-game losing streak and moved back into a tie atop the Midwest Collegiate League standings.
“The first two at-bats, I was struggling to see the ball, so I made a conscious effort in my last two at-bats to take some pitches and see strikes,” Tomasic said. “After going down 0-2 in my last at-bat, I was just battling and hoping he was going to make a mistake. I hit a mistake.”
Tomasic’s team-leading fourth home run provided some much-needed fuel for an Oilmen offense that scuffled throughout the three-game road trip. After being three hit on Tuesday at DuPage County, the Oilmen had just four hits through eight innings on Wednesday night.
“Tomasic has a knack for late-inning home runs,” Oilmen manager Chris Cunningham said. “He’s a good fastball hitter, and he put a good swing on it. He stayed short, found barrel and good things happened. It was a big hit for us; we needed it.”
Tommy Windt (South Suburban / Orland Park, Ill.) received no decision after allowing four runs (three earned) on six hits in five innings. Luke Pappas (Western Michigan / Chicago, Ill.) worked in and out of trouble to put two scoreless innings on the board, before Johnny Maynard (Lincoln Trail / Griffith, Ind.) earned the victory and improved to 2-1 after working scoreless eighth and ninth innings.
Joliet (4-22) had scored a pair in the opening frame and held a 2-0 lead until the Oilmen tied it with two of their own in the top of the fifth. The Generals responded in the bottom of the fifth as Bryan Diel launched a two-run homer, giving Joliet a 4-2 edge that would stand until the Tomasic big fly.
“This was a huge win,” Cunningham said. “We didn’t want to get on a losing streak. We’ve been pretty resilient as far as bouncing back and we wanted to keep that going. This is a big win for us.”
The Tomasic home run was preceded by the second hit of the day by Nick Anderson (Arkansas Fort Smith / Highland, Ind.) and the third walk of the day by Costa Sirounis (Indiana / Munster, Ind.). Seth Quick (1-3) took the loss for Joliet.
The Oilmen (19-9) will host DuPage County on Thursday night at 7:10 p.m. at Oil City Stadium. The Hounds lost on Wednesday, so the two teams enter the evening tied atop the MCL standings. Tickets are available now on NWIOilmen.com, and those who cannot attend can tune into Brandon Vickrey and Tom Gorski on the Oilmen Broadcasting Network, which is available via Facebook Live.