07/07/2016 7:47 PM -
Bloomington, Ill. – July 7, 2016 – A spot start as a reward for his efficiency out of the Oilmen bullpen turned into an unforgettable masterpiece for Oilmen left-hander Jordan Petty.
Petty (Purdue Northwest / Highland, Ind.) became the third Oilmen ever to reach double-figure strikeouts, heaved eight shutout innings and paved the way for Northwest Indiana’s 7-3 win over the Bloomington Bobcats on Thursday.
On paper, it was a matchup that seemed to favor Bloomington, with Petty – making his first college-level start – facing Bobcats ace Mitch Weis, who had already defeated the Oilmen twice this season. On the field, the result played out much differently.
“Movement out of all of his pitches – nothing was straight,” Oilmen manager Adam Enright said. “In five years, I’ve never seen any of our starters get that many swings and misses. In all of the strikeouts, he probably had at least two swings at misses. It was fun to watch. I was thoroughly impressed by his ability to keep hitters from figuring it out.”
Petty grabbed his first win of the season by allowing just three hits and four walks over eight scoreless frames. He reached 10 strikeouts, finishing one shy of Enrique Zamora’s all-time single-game franchise record of 11 established on July 17 of last season against Southland.
Zamora and Danny Pobereyko are the only two starters to reach double-figure strikeouts in the five-year history of the Oilmen before Thursday’s performance by Petty.
An out-of-the-blue decision to award Petty his first start of the year paid off for the Oilmen skipper.
“He had been efficient with his innings and was throwing everything for strikes out of the bullpen,” Enright said. “He got through innings without laboring through them and being in jams all the time.”
The Oilmen played errorless ball on Thursday, as they’ve seemingly shored up what had been a weakness through the first half of the season.
“That’s everything,” Enright said. “That’s No. 1. Everything else has been good. Keep the flow of the game going and not having those miscues that are self-inflicted keeps everybody upbeat and keeps everyone with a positive attitude. That makes the flow of the game go better for the pitchers and hitters.”
In the first 4 ½ years of Oilmen baseball, only one player had a multiple homer game. Now, it has happened back-to-back days as Tyler Sroczynski met the standard set by Jake Perreira on Wednesday with two bombs over the left-field fence on Thursday night.
Sroczynski (Trinity Christian / Dyer, Ind.) ripped the second pitch of the game over the left-field fence to put the Oilmen on the board, then he broke the game open with a three-run blow off the scoreboard in the third. Sroczynski is now in sole possession of the MCL’s home run lead with four and has set a new single-season Oilmen home run record.
“He’s hunting fastballs,” Enright said. “He’s looking to hit fastballs every at-bat. He’s trying to hit balls as hard as he can, which is great. Everybody should have that mentality at the plate.”
After coming up empty against Weis (2-2) in two prior meetings, the Oilmen handed him the loss by scoring two runs on five hits and two walks over six innings. The second Sroczynski homer came against reliever Blade Matthews in the seventh, then the Oilmen tacked on two more in the ninth to provide insurance.
The Bobcats scored all three of their runs with two outs in the ninth against James Whiteman, who eventually secured the Oilmen victory.
Stefano Belmonte (Florida Gulf Coast / Munster, Ind.) produced his third straight multi-hit game by going 3-for-4, while Jordan Flint (Eastern Illinois / Bartlett, Ill.) chipped in two hits.
The Oilmen (17-15) have won three straight to take over third place in the Midwest Collegiate League. NWI remains two games behind first-place DuPage County and overtake Southland for third place in the MCL. The Oilmen will look to extend their winning streak to four on Friday at DuPage at 5 p.m.