By: Brandon Vickrey
Whiting, Ind. – Aug. 7, 2020 – For once, heart rates stayed at normal levels on Friday night at Oil City Stadium.
A Northwest Indiana Oilmen team that had seven of its previous eight games decided by two runs or fewer scored five in the sixth to pull away for an eventual 8-2 victory over the visiting MCL Minutemen.
The win allowed the Oilmen to open up a two-game lead over DuPage County for the top spot in the Midwest Collegiate League standings.
“We had some timely hitting and played really good defense today,” Oilmen manager Chris Cunningham said. “We’re still taking it day-by-day and having fun as we come out to the ballpark and get ready to play every day. If we have timely hits, good defense and keep our pitching rolling, that’s the key to everything.”
After struggling over his previous two outings, Oilmen starter Jack Guzek (Iowa / Manhattan, Ill.) returned to his usual dominant form, heaving seven innings of one-run, three-hit ball. He fanned 11 while issuing just one walk with a solo homer by Ryan Missal in the sixth serving as the lone blemish.
“Tonight I was able to throw all four pitches for strikes, and that is the world,” Guzek said. “If you only throw fastballs, they know what’s coming and they can hit it. I’m really comfortable with everything now. I haven’t been able to use all four pitches like that at Iowa, so hopefully I’ll be able to take that back to school with me.”
The Oilmen (21-9) jumped in front on an RBI single by Kendal Ewell (Eastern Kentucky / Calumet City, Ill.) in the opening inning, then tacked on with two in the third including an RBI knock by Nick Anderson (Arkansas Fort Smith / Highland, Ind.). The Missal blast made it 3-1 in the sixth, but the Oilmen responded with five in the bottom of the inning, highlighted by a Tommy Windt (South Suburban / Orland Park, Ill.) RBI double and a two-run, two bagger by Tyler Nelson (Indiana / Crown Point, Ind.).
Isaiah Coupet (Ohio State / Flossmoor, Ill.) struck out five and yielded one run on one hit over two strong innings to nail down the triumph. Guzek picked up the victory to improve to 3-1.
“Guzek had good fastball command and was getting all of his pitches over,” Cunningham said. “You could tell he was on. When Jack’s like that, he’s tough to beat. He was solid tonight.”
Windt and Anderson had two hits apiece as the Oilmen corralled their third straight victory.
The Oilmen and Minutemen (10-19) will match up yet again on Saturday night at 6:10 p.m. at Oil City Stadium. Tickets are available on NWIOilmen.com. Brandon Vickrey and Andrew Fish will have the call on the Oilmen Broadcasting Network, which is available via Facebook Live.
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