06/05/2012 1:53 PM -
A couple of brilliant escapes from late-inning jams helped the Northwest Indiana Oilmen secure a 9-7 win over the Illinois Lincolns.
Nursing a one-run lead in the top of the eighth, Oilmen reliever Jim Hinklemen had runners on second and third with nobody out and the top of the Lincolns’ order due up.
“He got himself into trouble a few times by working in some deep counts,” said Oilmen manager Justin Huisman. “But then he executed some pitches when he had to.”
Two strikeouts sandwiched around a lineout to second let Hinklemen escape that inning unscathed.
“I really wanted that strikeout; that’s a big first out to get,” said Hinklemen. “As soon as I got that, I felt pretty confident.”
Two runners reached base to start the ninth-inning, too. But Hinklemen induced a 4-6-3 double play and then struck out the final batter to end the game. Hinklemen worked a total of four innings out of the bullpen, earning the win. He yielded one unearned run on two hits and one walk with four strikeouts.
Said Huisman: “He had a great outing for us. When he got into those jams, that’s when he started making pitches.”
Hinkleman’s work helped preserve the lead that the Oilmen grabbed in the bottom of the seventh inning. Danny Britt reached on an error and later scored on an RBI single by leadoff man Jack Cinoman, breaking a 7-7 tie.
The Oilmen then added some insurance in the bottom of the eighth inning. Billy Miller singled to start the inning—his fourth hit of the day—and then advanced to third on a hit-and-run single from John Livingston. Cody Dykema’s sacrifice fly brought Miller around to score.
“That was a real big insurance run,” Huisman said. “That last inning would’ve been a lot more stressful if it wasn’t a two-run game. John executed that hit-and-run perfectly.”