05/29/2016 5:54 PM -
Joliet, Ill. – May 29, 2016 – Through the first two games of the season, eight of the nine Northwest Indiana Oilmen hits came from the top three hitters in the order.
That changed on Sunday, as the Oilmen received contributions from up and down the lineup in a doubleheader split with the Joliet Admirals.
The Oilmen enjoyed their first win of the season in the second game 7-5 after being outslugged by the Admirals 9-7 in the opener.
Bo Fletcher, Jimmy Govern, Jake Perreira, Jordan Flint and Josh Mutter all recorded their first hits in an Oilmen uniform during the twin bill. The balanced offense represented a sharp juxtaposition to the first two games, when Cory Krolikowski, Josh Fewell and Chase Fieldhouse combined to hit .400, but the four through nine spots in the order went 1-for-38 (.026).
“It’s lonely over at third base when there are only two or three guys you can count on to move guys around the bases,” Oilmen manager Adam Enright said. “That allows you to do more, like bunt and run, to put pressure on the defense.”
Joliet starting pitcher Rob Talarico (1-0) notched the Game 1 win after allowing one run on five hits over four innings. Reggie Johnson (0-1) was hit with the defeat, yielding three runs on six hits and two walks in four frames. Jordan Miller had two hits and nailed down his first save as the Admirals (1-4) notched their first win of the season.
The Oilmen (1-3) scored one in the first, but Joliet grabbed the lead with three in the third. The game went haywire in the bottom of the fifth, as the Admirals scored six runs, before the Oilmen responded with six of their own in the top of the sixth inning.
All six Joliet runs were unearned against Eric Frontzak (Alma College / Naperville, Ill.).
The Oilmen six-run inning was capped by a bases-clearing double by Govern (Eastern Illinois / Libertyville, Ill.) that scored Pereirra, Flint and Fletcher. Govern reached base five times in the two games.
Jay Gutierrez pitched a clean bottom of the sixth with two strikeouts to keep the Oilmen in the game, but Northwest Indiana failed to score in the top of the seventh of the seven-inning game.
Fletcher (Alcorn State / Chicago, Ill.), batting leadoff for the first time this summer, went 3-for-4 in Game 1, but suffered a wrist injury sliding into third that prevented him from playing in the second game. The injury is not severe and his status is day-to-day.
The Oilmen committed seven errors over the two games, in part because a shorthanded roster forced players to play out of position.
“That’s the hand we’re dealt at this point,” Enright said. “We did what we had to with the healthy bodies we had.”
Christian Howell (Minnesota State Mankato / Aurora, Ill.) made his season debut in Game 2, beginning his second season as a member of the Oilmen pitching rotation. He hurled a seven-inning complete game, allowing five runs (one earned) on four hits and four walks while striking out six.
Enright had lefty Hunter Clark loose in the eighth and righty James Whiteman in the ninth, but stuck with Howell in both spots.
Howell (1-0) was the winning pitcher, while Joliet starter Tom Cheshareck (0-1) was saddled with the loss. Cheshareck allowed three runs on two hits and four walks in two innings before departing.
Krolikowski (Minnesota Duluth / Bartlett, Ill.) paced the Oilmen offense in the second game, recording three hits. Perreirra also turned in a two-hit performance.
The Oilmen jumped out to a 6-0 lead and held off the Admirals to become the final Midwest Collegiate League team to enter the win column this season.
“Obviously, it’s nice to win one,” Enright said. “I don’t think my anxiety level would have been any higher at 0-4 versus 1-3. Even with the guys that we have here, we would be a very good team. It will be nice getting guys back and making everything run smoothly with guys who aren’t out of position.”
The Oilmen return to the diamond on Wednesday night against the Michigan City Lakers at Riverside Park in Hammond. The game begins at 7:20 p.m. Central Time with live audio beginning with a 7 p.m. pregame on NWIOilmen.com.