07/04/2015 4:19 PM -
Whiting, Ind. – July 4, 2015 – The Michigan City Lakers remained a thorn in the side of the Oilmen on Saturday.
The Lakers, the lone team in the Midwest Collegiate League that holds a winning record against the Oilmen, pulled out a 7-5, 11-inning win at Oil City Stadium.
The dog days of summer have officially hit the Oilmen, who have now dropped back-to-back games and put together lackluster performances in four of the last five.
The Oilmen trailed 5-0 as late as the fifth, but they rallied with three in the fifth and single tallies in the sixth and seventh to send it to extras. The fifth-inning uprising featured three consecutive singles to start the frame, a bases-loaded walk to Tyler Sroczynski (Trinity Christina / Dyer, Ind.) and back-to-back sacrifice flies by Brad Wood and Zack Jones.
Starting pitcher Brian Jestice (Evansville / Hoffman Estates, Ill.) settled in after being hit hard early to give the Oilmen eight innings while allowing five runs (four earned) on nine hits. He received no decision.
“I tried to go with Jestice as long as I could,” manager Adam Enright said. “He figured it out late. The first four innings he was all over the place with all of his strikes right down the middle. He needed to stay away from the middle and throw some pitches that weren’t going to result in hard contact.”
The Oilmen had a chance to win it in the bottom of the 10th with the game tied at five when Donovan Chandler (Parkland / Schererville, Ind.) raced to third on a two-out single by Jordan Lewis. Lewis (Purdue / Escondido, Calif.) attempted to advance to second on the throw to third, and was cut down to end the inning.
“His run doesn’t mean anything,” Enright said. “Just stand on first base and the next hitter is up and you just stand there. You don’t have to do anything. That’s happened to us twice. When we lost to the Admirals, we had based loaded and one out in a one-run deficit, and the guy at first got doubled up.”
The Oilmen had another golden opportunity in the bottom of the 11th down 7-5 with the bases loaded and two outs. Wood (Northern Illinois / Orland Park, Ill.) grounded out to end the game, as the Oilmen fell to 0-3 in extra innings this season.
Christian Sullivan, who threw three innings against Lexington on Saturday, tossed another 2 1/3 innings, allowing two runs in the top of the 11th. He took the defeat, his first decision of the year. Sullivan (Franklin College / Schererville, Ind.) was pressed into duty out of necessity as the only non- position player available for the Oilmen.
Wood came on for the final two outs of the top of the 11th after start the game at second base.
Michigan City’s Collin Armold (2-0) threw an 11-inning complete game and picked up the win despite allowing five runs on 14 hits and two walks. It was not the first time an opposing starter went 11 innings against the Oilmen, as John Munyon of Lexington did the same on July 18 of last year.
Jeremy Wright (Milwaukee / Munster, Ind.) led the way for the Oilmen by going 3-for-5.
The Oilmen (14-8) are now ½ game behind DuPage County for the top spot in the Midwest Collegiate League. The Lakers improve to 8-15 and climb to within ½ game of Southland for fifth in the MCL.
Northwest Indiana will look to bounce back on Sunday as the Admirals come to Whiting at 4 p.m. to round out the unofficial first half with the final game before the All-Star Game.