07/21/2013 3:36 PM -
Sugar Grove, Ill. – July 21, 2013 – The Northwest Indiana Oilmen received two strong pitching performances on Sunday afternoon, but the Chicago Zephyrs managed to pull out a double header split.
The Oilmen picked up a 6-1 victory in the opener as Joe Cochran turned in a seven-inning complete game, allowing no earned runs while scattering six hits and striking out seven.
The Oilmen struck first when Nick Bartolone stroked a run-scoring single in the top of the third. Chicago scratched out its only run in the bottom of the frame by taking advantage of two Oilmen errors.
NWI regained the lead in the fourth when Gerrad Rohan singled, stole second and came around to score on a single by Ty Hogan. Rohan finished the game with three hits, drove in two runs and reached base in all four plate appearances.
The Oilmen tacked on two runs in the fifth and two more in the seventh on their way to the triumph. Bartolone picked up his second RBI of the day and 33rd of the season on a ground ball that scored Jack Czeszewski in the top of the seventh. With that run driven in, Bartolone established a new Midwest Collegiate League record for RBIs in a single season, leapfrogging Chris Hipchen, who drove in 32 runs last season with the Illinois Lincolns.
“Aside from luck, I owe a lot to the guys who get on base before me,” Bartolone said. “Batting in the four hole is a pretty good opportunity to get up to bat with guys on base, especially when they’re able to steal second, steal third and turn a single into an RBI. A rollover groundball, something you normally don’t want, turns into an RBI with guys on base.”
Bartolone tabbed scoring in the early-innings as a key for the Oilmen in the final week of the regular season and into the postseason.
“I think it’s important for us to get off to a good start,” he said. “Today, we started a little slow but we were getting guys on base. When the top of the order doesn’t get on, there’s less motivation for the bottom of the order. When one guy gets a hit, it’s contagious and it just keeps going.”
Czeszewski went 3-for-3 and scored twice in the opener as the Oilmen combined for 10 team hits in game one.
In the second game, Jim Hinkleman received his first start of the season and his first as an Oilman since July 6, 2012, when he lasted just one inning in an eventual 22-10 victory over DuPage.
Hinkleman carried a no-hitter into the sixth inning of the seven-inning second game. He allowed the first Chicago base hit to Jacques Camalick with two outs in the frame before exiting the game. Aveeno Nasiloski came in and allowed back-to-back base hits to score a run. The tally was charged to Hinkleman, who was the losing pitcher as NWI fell 1-0.
The Oilmen return home on Monday night to host the Lexington Snipes at 7:10 as they begin the final homestand of the regular season, which includes five games in four days concluding on Thursday. Based on the results of this weekend’s Midwest Collegiate League games, the Oilmen have clinched a spot in the postseason, which begins on July 30.