07/21/2017 4:34 PM -
The Northwest Indiana Oilmen hadn’t lost to the Joliet Admirals all season going into Thursday’s game at Oil City Stadium, and NWI improved to a perfect 8-0 against Joliet in 2017 with a 9-2 victory.
The Oilmen took a big lead early and stayed up for the entire game. Joliet starter Brent Stephens couldn’t find the strike zone in the bottom of the first. After he hit Tyler Sroczynski to give the Oilmen their first base-runner, Stephens walked five straight Northwest Indiana hitters. Sroczynski and Amir Wright both scored in the process. With the bases still loaded, Blake Cleveland sicngled to score Danny Torres and Chris Baker. The Oilmen scored two more runs in the inning, and came out of the first with a 6-0 lead despite just two hits.
Oilmen starter Brian Jestice gave up just two runs in five innings of work. With runners on second and third, Sean Arnold singled and scored Jake Ryder and Giovanni Diaz. In Jestice’s five innings, he struck out four Admirals and walked five.
The Admirals wouldn’t score again in the game, while Northwest Indiana added three more runs in the bottom of the seventh. Sroczynski scored another run after an error in right field from Joliet’s Jake Drada. Later, Torres and Chris Baker both scored on wild pitches and NWI took a 9-2 lead.
“Everybody’s just stepped it up in the second half,” Coach Adam Enright said after the game. “Having some time off, everybody got the rest they need and the time to get themselves mentally and physically prepared for the home stretch.”
The Oilmen went to Sam Geraci and Nate Thomas for two innings each on the mound in relief of Jestice, and neither would allow any Admirals to score. Both gave up just one hit in their two innings. Geraci struck out three without giving up a single walk, while Thomas struck out five and walked two.
Jestice got the win for the Oilmen, while Joliet starter Brent Stephens was saddled with the loss. The Oilmen improved to 27-14 with the win, while Joliet fell to 8-27.
“The end of June and beginning of July is the time where teams get into the bog and play lackadaisical because it’s the middle of the hot summer,” Enright said. “We got ourselves through that in relatively good shape… They see what’s coming in the next couple of weeks and they see what they’re able to do to compete for the regular season. They’re just putting it together.”
The Oilmen are back at Oil City Stadium Friday night to face the Southland Vikings at 7:10 p.m.