08/01/2015 11:02 PM -
Whiting, Ind. – August 1, 2015 – If the Oilmen want to advance beyond the first round of the playoffs, they’re going to have to make Midwest Collegiate League history to do it.
No team has won an MCL playoff series after losing the first game. The Oilmen hope to be the first after dropping Saturday’s opener 11-4 to the Lexington Snipes.
The Snipes scored seven runs (five earned) on eight hits against Oilmen starter Enrique Zamora, who was pulled with two outs in the fifth. He took the loss.
Reid Birlingmair pitched well for the Snipes, picking up the victory despite scattering eight hits and five walks over 6 2/3 innings. The Oilmen touched him for four earned runs, but he did enough to notch the win.
The Snipes scored three in the second inning, but the Oilmen got a run back in the bottom half and tied the game with two in the third. One of the third-inning runs came on a balk that awarded Tyler Sroczynski the plate. Lexington manager Billy DuBois was ejected for arguing the balk call, and proceeded to get his money’s worth by kicking dirt toward the umpire, erasing the foul lines and throwing a bucket of baseballs on to the field.
Fred Smart ripped a single with two outs in the third to tie the game at three, but the Snipes quickly regained the lead with three runs in the fourth against Zamora.
“Either they were really good, or we were just leaving a lot of balls in the middle of the plate,” Oilmen manager Adam Enright said. “I think it was a combination of both. They had 15 hits; they hit the ball. (Zamora) was trying to make his fastball harder than it normally is; he was trying to make his slider do more than it normally does.”
From there, the Snipes continued to score, adding single tallies in the fifth, sixth and seventh before sealing the deal with two runs against Christian Howell in the ninth.
The Snipes were also aided by wobbly Oilmen defense, as Northwest Indiana committed five errors.
Lexington notched its first postseason win since joining the Midwest Collegiate League. Neal Tyrell led the charge with three hits, while Deion Thompson, Jared McCunn and Cully Day added two hits apiece.
Tyler Srocynski, Fred Smart and Sam Geraci all enjoyed multi-hit games for the Oilmen.
Both teams face a quick turnaround, as Sunday’s Game 2 has been moved to a 1 p.m. start due to rain forecasted in the late afternoon in Lexington. The Oilmen need a win at High Desert Field to extend the season.
Enright does not believe that a motivational speech will be necessary prior to Sunday’s game.
“There’s really nothing to say,” he said. “If they want to keep playing, they’ll win. If they’re not motivated to play, they’ll lose. Before the game (on Saturday) they were super-motivated, and then the motivation went away when we got down.”