06/26/2016 6:31 PM -
Whiting, Ind. – June 26, 2016 – The status quo was all it took for the Northwest Indiana Oilmen on Sunday.
Max Siedlecki continued to deal, Tommy Szczasny continued to slug and the Oilmen continued to win, as they upstaged the first-place Joliet Admirals 9-3.
Siedlecki (1-1) recorded his first win of the season despite being the league’s ERA leader among starting pitchers entering the game. A combination of a lack of run support, wobbly defense and bullpen trouble led to Siedlecki (New Mexico Highlands / Chicago, Ill.) owning an 0-1 record with three no decisions through his first four starts.
“The guy who came in after him did a pretty good job,” Oilmen manager Adam Enright said. “That’s been the struggle for Max. Guys coming in after him have either had poor defense behind them or not doing the job. Normally when Max comes out, we’re either tied or winning.”
The relief arm to uphold the Oilmen lead was lefty Jordan Petty, who grabbed his first save. Petty (Purdue Northwest / Highland, Ind.) threw three innings of one-run, four hit ball. Siedlecki went six innings and allowed two runs on four hits while striking out four and walking three.
“Siedlecki was in a lot of 3-2 counts, he threw a lot of balls, but he pitched out of a bunch of jams, which kept everyone interested in the game,” Enright said.
The big blow of the game again came off the bat of Szczasny (Northern Illinois / Tinley Park, Ill.). Two days removed from a walk-off single against the Hounds, the incoming NIU freshman unloaded a go-ahead, two-run homer in the third. That allowed the Oilmen to regain the lead at 4-2 after the Admirals had tied it with two in the top of the inning.
“The home run was huge,” Enright said. “The first inning was kind of a feel-good inning, where you get a bunch of hits and baserunners and you feel like you’re way out in front, but you’re really not because you only scored two runs. They scored two runs and all of the sudden they tied it up. To immediately get the two-run homer was huge.”
Szczasny finished the game 3-for-3 with five RBIs, a triple shy of the cycle.
The Oilmen got their first two runs in the first inning on sacrifice flies by Szczasny and Zack Forney (Eastern Illinois / Cary, Ill.) to plate Tyler Sroczynski and Marshawn Taylor.
Taylor (Grambling State / Chicago, Ill.) and Bo Fletcher (Alcorn State / Chicago, Ill.) each notched hits in front of former Simeon High School teammate and Milwaukee Brewers No. 5 overall pick Corey Ray, who was in the crowd just one day after taking batting practice at Miller Park.
Josh Mutter (Northern Illinois / Frankfort, Ill.) made the most of his first start since June 12 by lashing two singles and driving in one.
The Oilmen tacked on four in the fourth and one more in the fifth, before Joliet whittled the deficit with a ninth-inning tally.
The Admirals (15-10) are now just one game ahead of DuPage County for the league lead. The Oilmen (12-11) remain in third place and climb to within two games of the Admirals.
The Oilmen will host the Michigan City Lakers on Monday at 7:20 p.m. in a makeup of a game that was rained out last week. To celebrate the Oilmen reaching their 3,000th Facebook like, all fans can receive free admission to the game by emailing [email protected] to reserve their tickets.