07/12/2018 10:24 PM -
Chicago Heights, Ill. – July 12, 2018 – A day after the Northwest Indiana Oilmen set the team’s single-season home run mark, the records continued to fall on Thursday at Hap Bruno Field.
The Oilmen trounced the Southland Vikings 20-3, shattering the franchise record for the largest margin of victory. The Oilmen had won by 16 runs on three occasions – June 16, 2016 (vs. Bloomington), July 9, 2016 (at Southland) and June 4, 2017 (at Crestwood), but never before had they enjoyed a 17-run margin of victory.
The game got out of hand early as the Oilmen jumped in front with a three-run first before tacking on four in the second. A seven-run sixth and a five-run eighth were the two biggest frames of the day for NWI (20-16). Southland (18-9) ran out six different pitchers on their way to seeing their lead over the Oilmen for second place shrink to 2 ½ games.
“We didn’t miss our pitch today,” Oilmen acting manager Matt Vitulli said. “We jumped on a lot of first-pitch fastballs and second-pitch fastballs early in at-bats. We realized we were fouling more balls to our pull side than over our dugout, and that meant we were on his fastball. We came out hot today.”
The Oilmen pounded out 23 hits, equaling a franchise record that had stood since July 31, 2013, a 17-9 win over Lexington in Game 2 of the MCL Semifinal Series. They came up two runs shy of the franchise record for runs scored in a single game that was established in a 22-10 win at DuPage County in 2012.
CJ Deshazer (Heartland / Schaumburg, Ill.) led the way with four hits, while Brenden Butler (Upper Iowa / Oak Lawn, Ill.), Jake Plastiak (Wichita State / Tinley Park, Ill.), Brandon Petkoff (Texas A&M Corpus Christi / Frankfort, Ill.) and Nick Figus (Illinois Wesleyan / Frankfort, Ill.) had three hits apiece.
“Hitting is contagious; that’s just how it goes,” Vitulli said. “When you see one guy get a hit, you think, ‘I can get a hit.’ The train just keeps rolling, especially on a day like today.”
Alex Voss (Butler / South Bend, Ind.) picked up the win to improve to 3-0 after allowing three runs (two earned) on eight hits in seven innings. Brendan Kelly (Purdue Northwest / Grandville, Mich.) was effective out of the bullpen, throwing two scoreless innings.
The Oilmen will play one final game before the All-Star Break – it’s a $2 Pint Night at Oil City Stadium on Friday beginning at 7:10 p.m. against the DuPage County Hounds. For those who cannot make it out to the ballpark, the game will be broadcast via Facebook Live on the Oilmen Broadcasting Network with Brandon Vickrey and Dan Harty on the call.