06/16/2023 11:03 PM -
As Chris Baker crushed a three-run home run over the right field fence with two outs in the ninth, the Oilmen had just a sliver of hope for a late-game comeback.
In yet another game of temperatures in the 50s, the Northwest Indiana Oilmen were unable to set the franchise record for consecutive wins, losing 8-4 to the Southland Vikings on Friday night at Oil City Stadium. The Oilmen trailed the entire game, and could not get over the hump as Nolan Vlcek got the win on the mound.
Vlcek pitched six innings, striking out six and allowing one earned run.
“He spins his fastball pretty efficiently; he has success up in the zone getting above barrels and getting lots of swings and misses in the top of the zone,” Oilmen manager Adam Enright said. “That’s what does it for him because there's not a whole lot of guys like him.”.
The Oilmen outhit the Vikings 10-9, striking out 13 as well. Both Jayden Comia and Nick Daugherty were standouts at the plate. Comia went 3-for-4, and Daugherty went 2-for-4, including a ninth-inning triple.
Coming into Friday's matchup, the Vikings had yet to hit a home run on the season. On Friday, they hit two, both coming in pivotal moments in the game. Both Bryce Nevils and Caleb Rhodes homered, Nevils in the fifth, and Rhodes in the sixth.
The Oilmen had the bases loaded with nobody out in the bottom of the second, but failed to scored.
“Anytime there's a bases-loaded situation in an inning, that pitcher’s going to throw a ton of pitches,” Enright said. “We were in a situation where if we went three, four, or five more hitters, we would’ve gotten into their bullpen.We had a hard-hit double play ball, which kind of saved [Vlcek’s] pitch count.”
The loss snaps the Oilmen's undefeated month of June, and keeps them in second place in the Northern League standings. The Oilmen host a rematch against the Southland Vikings Saturday, June 17 at 7:10 p.m.