07/13/2014 8:53 PM -
Whiting, Ind. – July 13, 2014 – Entering Sunday night’s game against the DuPage County Hounds, the Oilmen were presented with a golden opportunity to gain ground in the Midwest Collegiate League standings.
That chance went to waste as the Oilmen suffered a 5-3 loss in a game where all of the scoring occurred in the first four innings.
With the Lexington Snipes sweeping a doubleheader from the Southland Vikings earlier in the day, the Oilmen, Snipes and Vikings were in a three-way tie for second place in the league standings, all three games back of DuPage. The Oilmen needed to win four games over three days to force a first-place tie with the Hounds.
The Oilmen had the tying run at the plate in the ninth inning with one out, when Ryan Burvan grounded into a game-ending double play.
“It’s frustrating the way we lost,” Oilmen manager Justin Huisman said. “We had a questionable call (on the 2-0 pitch to Burvan), and then we hit into a double play. You never know what could have happened in that last inning. We had chances.”
Another one of those chances came in the sixth inning, when the Oilmen had runners at second and third with one away before Matt Frawley escaped the jam.
Tempers flared in the second inning when DuPage’s Clayton Johannes barreled into Oilmen catcher Andrew Ray on a play at the plate. Ray retaliated by shoving Johannes, leading to a bench-clearing altercation. A shoving match took place, but no punches were thrown. Ray and Johannes were both ejected from the game.
“I saw our team defending our guy,” Huisman said. “Their guy kind of barreled Ray over when he didn’t need to, Ray defended himself like probably everybody would and everybody came to his defense. Luckily, no punches were thrown and nobody got hurt.”
Starting pitcher Jimmy McNamara immediately stood up for Ray during the altercation.
“I’m not going to let anybody throw Ray around like that, especially when he wasn’t at fault, that was just completely out of hand,” McNamara said. “I think that was a total Busch-League play.”
McNamara (3-2) was hit with the loss, allowing five earned runs on nine hits over five innings. Relievers Scott Jerge, Andrew Jackson and Andrew Lowe combined to work three scoreless innings to keep the Oilmen in the game.
When Ray was ejected from the game, the Oilmen were forced to use designated hitter Alec Ornelas, the only other catcher available, behind the plate. With the DH out of the lineup, McNamara had to bat for himself. His first at-bat in two years came with runners on second and third and one out in the fourth. He laid down an RBI bunt single to drive in a run.
“I took a nice hack on that first pitch and fouled it and then they called for a bunt,” McNamara said. “It was a pretty nice bunt; it got the run home. It was different, it was like high school when I used to hit for myself.”
The first hit and RBI of McNamara’s Midwest Collegiate League career ignited a two-run rally that allowed the Oilmen to tie the game at three. However, the Hounds responded with two of their own in the bottom of the frame to take a 5-3 lead that they never relinquished.
The Hounds (21-8) are now 14-1 in games played at Benedictine University this season. DuPage starter Christian Bokich allowed two earned runs over five innings to pick up the win. Drew LaComb came on to get the final two outs, nailing down the save.
The Oilmen (17-11, 15-10) are now in fourth place in the Midwest Collegiate League standings, four games back of the first-place Hounds.
Northwest Indiana will attempt to bounce back on Monday night in a doubleheader at Homewood-Flossmoor High School against the Southland Vikings. The first game is scheduled to start at 5:10 p.m. with both contests to be seven innings in length. The Oilmen host a rematch with DuPage County on Tuesday night at 7:10 at Oil City Stadium.