06/25/2017 3:40 PM -
Sunday, the Northwest Indiana Oilmen continued their hot streak and won their fifth game in a row, this time over the DuPage County Hounds in Lemont, Ill. The Oilmen moved to within ½ game of first place in the MCL with the win, and can take the league lead with a win tomorrow in another game with the Hounds.
Matt Garbacz made his third start for NWI this season, and it had a rocky start. Garbacz gave up a run on a sacrifice fly in the first inning which scored Tristan Welch and two more runs in the second to give DuPage a 3-0 lead. The Oilmen bats responded in the third. Alec Olund, Blake Cleveland and Jack Ciombor all had RBI hits to tie the game at three.
Garbacz wouldn’t allow a baserunner the rest of his appearance. He sent down 13 straight Hounds to end his six innings of work, and the Oilmen were able to take the lead because of it.
“We played good defense and turned a couple of double plays behind him,” Coach Adam Enright said. “The first couple hitters the command wasn’t there yet, but once we figured out fastball command he got in front of a lot of hitters with takes. It makes the game go very quickly.”
Northwest Indiana didn’t score again until the sixth. After the first three runners of the inning got on, an RBI single from Dashon Moore and Danny Torres sacrifice fly scored a pair of runs to give NWI a 5-3 lead. Blake Cleveland later walked with the bases loaded, and the Oilmen led by three going into the late innings.
“I don’t really worry at all. If the game’s close late or we’re down a few,” Enright said. “The third and fourth time through the order, we’re pretty tough. I don’t think that we ever panic when we’re down a couple runs because it’s a nine-inning game for a reason. It’s all about being able to pitch late in games and having a bullpen. With our hitting coupled with good pitching and a good bullpen, you’ve got a pretty good chance to get back into any game.”
The Oilmen bullpen held up, but just barely. Christian Howell came in in the eighth and walked the first two batters he faced before Enright pulled him from the game in favor of Bo Hofstra. Hofstra later allowed two runs. They were charged to Howell, but the Oilmen still led by just one going into the ninth.
The Oilmen got an insurance run in the top of the ninth, but it wouldn’t be needed. Hofstra gave up a leadoff double to start the bottom half, but continued to get three straight outs and give NWI a 7-5 win. He struck out the last two batters of the game and finished with four strikeouts in two innings.
Garbacz got the win for the Oilmen and improved to 2-0 this season. RD Lutze took the loss; he is now 0-2. The Oilmen are back home Monday night to play the Hounds again at Oil City Stadium. The winner of that game will lead take the lead in the MCL.