06/01/2014 4:14 PM -
Lexington, Ill. –June 1, 2014 – After the Northwest Indiana Oilmen scored 17 runs to clinch a spot in the 2013 Midwest Collegiate League Championship Series the last time they visited the Snipes, Lexington returned the favor on Sunday afternoon at High Desert Field.
The Snipes (3-1) scored five times in the first, added six insurance tallies in the fifth and rolled to a 17-5 victory over Northwest Indiana. Starting pitcher Nick Nauracy (0-1) was tagged for six runs, five earned, on five hits and two walks in 1 1/3 innings. Oilmen manager Justin Huisman said Nauracy needs to work on improving his location.
“He’s got to fine-tune some things and get the ball down a little bit more,” Huisman said. “When you do that, you have more options. The hitters were comfortable in the box because they didn’t have much to worry about.”
Scott Jerge was the bright spot of the Oilmen pitching staff, holding the Snipes at bay with 2 2/3 scoreless innings in relief of Nauracy. Garrett Sherrell came on to pitch the fifth as all six players that came to the plate against him reached base. Sherrell surrendered six Lexington runs without recording an out.
Munster graduate Anthony Gomez made his Oilmen debut. He escaped a fifth-inning jam and worked a scoreless sixth before allowing three runs in the seventh. Matt Pobereyko entered to get the final two outs on the seventh and worked the eighth inning. Adam Casson clubbed a solo homer with two outs in the eighth, his second against the Oilmen this season.
After the Snipes scored six in the fifth inning to build the lead to 12-1, Huisman gathered the players outside the third base dugout for an impromptu team meeting.
“It was just about playing consistent no matter what the score is,” Huisman said. “It’s tough in games like this to stay mentally focused and you can make some mental errors out there. It was about staying focused and making sure you stay consistent.”
The Oilmen (2-2) scored their first run of the game in the fifth inning as Rob Blissitt singled and eventually came around to score on a wild pitch. The Oilmen scored another run in the sixth on a Ryan Burvan sacrifice fly and two more in the seventh. James Meeker lashed a run-scoring single in the ninth to account for the final NWI tally of the game. Meeker and Andrew Ray both recorded their first hits in an Oilmen uniform in the game.
Lexington starter Ben Hecht (1-0) hurled five solid innings of one-run, six-hit ball to pick up the win.
Sunday’s game was the most runs allowed by the Oilmen in a single game in the three-year history of the team. Previously, the most runs given up in a game was 14 in a 14-13 loss to Will County on June 27, 2012. Sunday’s game was also the largest margin of defeat in team history. Before Sunday, the Oilmen had never lost by double digits, with a 13-4 loss to Southland on July 22, 2012 the most lopsided loss in team history.
“Baseball’s not a sport where you can come out and be game-ready from the get-go,” Huisman said. “There are some things that guys are going to have to work through when they get out there with competition and adrenaline. It’s a long summer and we’re only four games in, so we’ll be alright.”