07/05/2015 6:24 PM -
Whiting, Ind. – July 5, 2015 – Perhaps the worst news the Joliet Admirals received this week was when they learned that Keith Mahler was the starting pitcher for the Oilmen on Sunday.
After back-to-back NWI losses, the Oilman ace proved to be the perfect method to stop the team’s bleeding. Three of his five starts have now come against the Admirals this season, and all three times he’s been nothing short of dominant.
Until the eighth inning of Sunday’s game, Mahler had not allowed a run against Joliet in 17 innings of work this year. By the time the Admirals scratched out a tally against him, the Oilmen were already well on their way to a 6-1 triumph in the final game before the All-Star Break.
“My stuff was effective,” Mahler said. “It helps when you’ve got a defense behind you that can make plays.”
Mahler (Cumberland / Highland, Ind.) struck out five and walked one while allowing only one run on nine hits in eight innings.
“A guy like Keith can give up nine hits in a game and only give up one run,” Oilmen manager Adam Enright said. “They earned their hits and they had a bunch of them, but he’s able to scatter them and not give up free passes. He went really deep into the game, which is what we needed.”
The first Oilmen run came courtesy of Brad Wood’s run-scoring single in the third. Wood (Northern Illinois / Orland Park, Ill.) later rapped an RBI double in the sixth for his second hit of the day. Alec Olund (Purdue, Schererville, Ind.) was also productive offensively, doubling in both the sixth and eighth innings. His sixth-inning two-bagger was part of a three-run frame that served as the game’s turning point.
The Oilmen tacked on two more in the bottom of the eighth before Sam Bell (Marian / Munster, Ind.) came on to send the Admirals down in order in the ninth.
The Oilmen finish the unofficial first half at 15-8, a game better than they were at the midway point a year ago. The All-Star Game seems to be coming at the perfect time for the Oilmen.
“The energy was still kind of down, and coming off a holiday weekend, that’s understandable,” Enright said. “We’re limping into the second half. It will be nice to get two days off, even though most of our guys made the All-Star team anyway. We’ll be able to start over in the second half.”
Monday’s off day, Tuesday’s All-Star Game and the start of a road stretch on Wednesday will also help the Oilmen shake up the routine of playing at home every day.
“It’s great to play here, but we’ve been at home for almost two weeks and it gets a little stale,” Enright said. “We’ll get to go on the road a little bit right off the bat in the second half, and hopefully we’ll get back to where we were at the beginning of the year.:
Joliet starter David Schurr took the defeat, dropping to 0-2 after allowing four runs on eight hits in six innings. The Admirals head into the all-star break at 7-11.
The Oilmen move into a first place tie with the DuPage County Hounds, who split a doubleheader with Michigan City on Sunday. The Hounds won the opening game 7-3 and lost the second game 3-2 at Marquette Athletic Complex. The third-place Snipes remain 1 ½ games behind the Oilmen after beating Southland 13-4 on Sunday for their third consecutive win.
DuPage County plays a makeup game at Lexington on Monday that will determine whether or not the Oilmen will enter the All-Star Game in first place.
The Midwest Collegiate League All-Star Game, which features 14 Oilmen, will take place on Tuesday at 7:10 p.m. at Oil City Stadium. Proceeds from the game will benefit the American Cancer Society.