By: Brandon Vickrey
Whiting, Ind. – July 25, 2020 – A four-run seventh inning was the only blemish on another quality day for the Northwest Indiana Oilmen pitching staff, but a pair of DuPage County southpaws were a touch better on Saturday night at Oil City Stadium.
Seth Masters and Jordan Smevoll combined for the shutout, helping the Hounds blank the hosts 4-0. That Oilmen couldn’t muster up enough offense to support starter Connor Oliver (Wichita State / Wabash Valley / Oak Forest, Ill.), who yielded four runs (two earned) on six hits over 6 2/3 innings while striking out seven and issuing no walks.
“We weren’t taking quality swings tonight,” Oilmen manager Chris Cunningham said. “We battled here and there. We didn’t have quality at-bats and squandered opportunities. We didn’t come up with the two-out hit that we needed.”
Oliver (1-1) had a shutout intact through six. The Oilmen pitching staff had pinpoint control throughout the evening, issuing no walks.
“Connor pitched his tail off and did what he was supposed to do,” Cunningham said. “That seventh inning wasn’t a reflection of how he pitched. He did a really good job.”
Three extra-base in the seventh fueled the Hounds, who were also the beneficiary of a seeing-eye single and a pair of throwing errors, one of which came on a dropped third strike play where the throw to first hit the runner.
Oilmen righty Brandon Tyler (Grambling State / Calumet City, Ill.) made his first Oil City Stadium pitching appearance and sent down the side in order in the top of the ninth.
The Oilmen threated in the third inning with runners at the corners and the fourth with men at first and second, but in both cases strikeouts ended the inning. The Oilmen had another chance in the fifth with two on and only one away, but a line drive double play retired the side. NWI had just one hit over the final four innings, Angelo Cantelo (Lewis / Blue Island, Ill.)’s ninth inning single for his second knock of the night.
Smevoll (1-0) allowed one hit over four shutout innings while striking out five and walking one to earn the victory in relief.
The triumph allowed the Hounds (12-5) to take over first-place in the Midwest Collegiate League standings, while the Oilmen (12-6) are sandwiched between the Hounds and Southland Vikings in a tight MCL title race. The Oilmen are a ½ game behind first-place DuPage County and a ½ game ahead of third-place Southland.
The Oilmen will look to cool off the Crestwood Panthers on Sunday at 4:10 p.m. at Oil City Stadium. Tickets are available now on NWIOilmen.com. For those who cannot attend, Brandon Vickrey and Jon Zaghloul will have the call on the Oilmen Broadcasting Network, which is available via Facebook Live.
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