Bucs shut out Oilers on 1 hit

Rarely does a one-out single to right field with the bases empty stand out in a baseball score book.
Yet that was the case for the Peninsula Oilers on Wednesday.


Tanner Rust's opposite-field single to right field in the bottom of the seventh inning was the lone hit for the Oilers, who went quietly into the night in a 3-0 loss to the Anchorage Bucs in Alaska Baseball League action at Coral Seymour Memorial Park.

The loss drops the Oilers to 14-8 overall and 7-5 in the ABL. They are tied with the Bucs, who are 8-6 in the league. The Mat-Su Miners hold first at 11-6.

Peninsula and Anchorage play a doubleheader beginning at 5 p.m. today at Seymour Park. Both games are scheduled for seven innings.

"We didn't really stick to our approach at the plate," said Peninsula's Mike Miller, who entered the game with a team-best .385 average in league play but was 0 for 4 with a strikeout Wednesday. "We let him dictate how the game would go."

The man of whom Miller spoke was Anchorage starter Kyle Finnegan, who tossed six innings of no-hit ball before he was pulled after 96 pitches, reaching 96 miles per hour on his zippiest fastballs.

Although he issued four walks, Finnegan was in command from the beginning. He finished with four strikeouts and threw a heavy dose of first-pitch strikes, keeping the Oilers off balance and earning the victory.

It was the latest in a string of stellar performances from the Bucs' pitching staff, which has given up one run to the Oilers over the past 27 innings and none in the past 22. Anchorage defeated Peninsula 4-0 in 13 innings last week.

Oilers coach Dennis Machado was unavailable for comment following the game.

"Finnegan was throwing strikes, getting ahead in the count, pounding the zone," assistant coach John Stevens said. "He made pitches when he had to. Good pitching beats hitting - period."

With a fastball hovering in the mid-90s, Finnegan is the hardest throwing pitcher the Oilers have faced this season.

Stevens said the squad is accustomed to seeing pitches in the mid- to upper-80s, so it was a difficult adjustment Wednesday.

Once Finnegan got on a roll, Peninsula had no answer.

"The biggest thing is getting momentum in our dugout and keeping it there," Stevens said. "They had it from the beginning and kept it there."

Brian Santy gave the Bucs a 1-0 lead with one out in the top of the second when he sent a grounder to shortstop with runners on second and third.

The Bucs then scored twice in the top of the fourth without getting the ball out of the infield.

After Peninsula starter and loser Ben Griset walked two and allowed an infield single, catcher Ryan McChesney dropped the ball on a swinging strike three by Keenan Cook. That allowed Cook to reach first as Joe Winterburn scored from third, prolonging the inning.

Boomer Collins then walked with the bases loaded to make it 3-0.

"Yes, that's frustrating," Stevens said. "But it didn't matter. When you score zero runs, you lose."

Griset was shaky over five innings, but allowed just one earned run. On 92 pitches, he walked four and hit a batter. The Bucs stranded seven runners against Griset.

Tyler Blum and James Mannara combined to throw four shutout innings in relief, but it didn't matter because Peninsula didn't get a runner past first base until the ninth inning.

Even then, it came on dropped fly ball by left fielder Cook. The Bucs' pitchers combined for nine strikeouts.
The Oilers will start Gabriel Asakura and Kellen St. Luce as they look to get back on track in today's doubleheader.

"It's a new day," Miller said. "It comes and goes with hitting and right now we are struggling a little. Hopefully we have the confidence to come back strong and get two wins."

Bucs 3, Oilers 0
Oilers AB R H BI Bucs AB R H BI
Millr ss 4 0 0 0 Andsn cf 4 0 1 0
Mllry 2b 3 0 0 0 Cook lf 2 0 1 0
Wisdm 3b 4 0 0 0 Cllns rf 4 0 0 1
Chnng 1b 3 0 0 0 Vldz 2b 4 0 1 0
McChsn c 3 0 0 0 Plmro3b 3 1 0 0
Rust rf 3 0 1 0 Hrjng 1b 4 0 1 0
Ymgchi dh 3 0 0 0 Wntbrn dh 2 1 0 0
Andsn clf 2 0 0 0 Santy c 3 0 0 1
Ring cf 3 0 0 0 Afnr ss 2 0 1 0
Totals 28 0 1 0 Totals 26 3 5 2
Anchorage 010 200 000 -3
Peninsula 000 000 000 -0

E - Cook. 2B - Cook. LOB - Bucs 9, Oilers 6. SB - Afenir. S - Cook, Winterburn.

Griset, L 5 4 3 1 5 5
Blum 2 0 0 0 1 5
Mannara 2 1 0 0 0 0
Finnegan, W 6 0 0 0 4 4
McIlhenny 1 1 0 0 0 3
Lemke 2 0 0 0 1 2

HBP - by Griset (Afenir). PB - McChesney. T - 2:27.


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