07/21/2016 9:26 PM -
Whiting, Ind. – July 21, 2016 – The Northwest Indiana Oilmen have many loyal and dedicated fans, but Mother Nature may very well be right at the top of the list.
Whenever weather conditions shorten an Oilmen game, they seem to do so at an opportune moment for the Oilmen, who improved to 8-0 all-time in weather-shortened games with a 6-2 victory over Southland.
The game was delayed and eventually called in the bottom of the fifth inning when the umpires spotted lightning in the area.
The Vikings bolted out to an early lead after three Oilmen errors and a bloop single allowed Southland to plate two against Luke Jaksich in the first inning. Jaksich (St. Joseph’s College / St. John, Ind.) was dominant, allowing two unearned runs on one hit in five innings while walking one and striking out five.
The five-inning complete game allowed Jaksich to pick up the win and improve to 4-0.
“He threw all three pitches for strikes,” Enright said. “He got swings and misses. Any time he’s been good, that’s what we’ve seen. It’s a testament to his stuff that they saw him for four innings last time out and for him to come out and still fool hitters the way he did shows that he’s tough to pick up.”
Temporary Oilmen catcher DJ Budde ripped a run-scoring single to get the Oilmen on the board in the fifth. Budde – a Trinity Christian backstop making his Oilmen debut – notched the third straight hit in what turned out to be a five-run third.
Budde added a bloop single to score a run in the fourth.
“It’s no surprise; he’s well coached,” joked Oilmen manager Adam Enright, who coaches Budde at Trinity. “He competes. He doesn’t wow you in any one area, but he helps us win throughout the spring. He doesn’t get overwhelmed by situations. He’ll put the ball in play with runners in scoring position.”
Jordan Flint (Eastern Illinois / Bartlett, Ill.) also ripped two hits for the Oilmen.
Southland pitcher Xavier Luna gave up six earned runs on seven hits in 4 1/3 innings to take the loss.
The Oilmen (24-18) move ahead of DuPage County for second place in the MCL since the Hounds lost to the Bobcats on Thursday. NWI is now one game behind Joliet for the league lead. Thursday’s scheduled game between the Admirals and Lakers was postponed.
The Vikings (16-22) are now one game behind Bloomington for the final playoff spot.
The Oilmen will hold First Responders Night on Friday with ticket proceeds benefiting the Indiana Special Olympics as the Oilmen play the Hounds. Visit NWIOilmen.com to purchase tickets.