07/11/2015 5:18 AM -
Lemont, Ill. – July 11, 2015 – The struggles continued for the Northwest Indiana Oilmen on Saturday at the Lemont Athletic Complex.
Defensive miscues, excessive walks and missing out on scoring chances created a recipe for disaster in what turned into a 13-4 loss to DuPage County.
Northwest Indiana’s most lopsided defeat of the season extended its losing streak to three games, the team’s longest skid of the year.
The Oilmen inched out to a 1-0 lead in the first as Stefano Belmonte laced a run-scoring single. However, the Hounds started their string of 13 unanswered runs with a three spot in the third. Brad Wood and Belmonte each committed errors in the inning, and Wood finished with three errors in the game.
The Oilmen loaded the bases with one out in the fourth chasing 3-1, but failed to score as Alec Barnhart popped up on the infield before Brian Seymour struck out to end the inning.
“We’re just waiting for the wheels to come off at some point,” Oilmen manager Adam Enright said. “It’s a two-run game and we have the bases loaded and one out and we don’t score a run. That isn’t good, but it’s not the end of the world. There’s still a lot of game to go. We’re waiting for something bad to happen, and then it’s like, ‘Here we go again.’”
It went from bad to worse for the Oilmen when DuPage County scored three more in the fourth and three in the fifth against starting pitcher Brian Jestice. The Evansville right-hander allowed nine runs (seven earned) on nine hits and six walks in 4 2/3 innings.
Jestice was hit with the defeat to drop to 2-1. The Hounds had two outs and nobody on base in the fourth, but two walks and two hits later (including a two-run homer by Zac Taylor), they had scored three in the frame. Jestice was removed with two outs in the fifth after issuing back-to-back bases loaded walks to force in runs.
“When we have a couple errors behind him or he gives up a big hit, he’s had trouble all summer minimizing damage,” Enright said. “His command goes away. He walks a guy or gets in a bad count, and it grows from there.”
The Hounds tacked on two more in the sixth and another two spot in the seventh against reliever Hunter Clark. The Oilmen tallied three runs in the eighth as Seymour slapped a two-run single and Zack Jones unloaded an RBI double.
Fred Smart, Jones and Belmonte each had two hits for the Oilmen. Richie Gorski went 3-for-4 to pace the Hounds.
Tom Conklin picked up the win by allowing only one run (unearned) on four hits in six innings. He improved to 2-0. Thomas Goodyear earned a save in his Hounds debut by pitching three scoreless frames to finish the game.
The Oilmen (15-11) are now tied with the Snipes for second place in the Midwest Collegiate League. The two teams play an important home-and-home on Sunday and Monday, with a matchup taking place at High Desert Field on Sunday afternoon and at Oil City Stadium at 6 p.m. on Monday.
The Hounds (18-9) hold a 2 ½ game lead over both the Oilmen and Snipes. They visit the Vikings on Sunday.