Oilers drop 1st game of doubleheader

When it's Anchorage Bucs-Peninsula Oilers, one bet is safe - the game will go extra innings.


The Bucs and Oilers played bonus baseball twice Thursday, splitting a doubleheader in Alaska Baseball League action at Coral Seymour Memorial Park.

Anchorage won the first game 4-2 in 10 innings, while Peninsula took the second 1-0 in eight innings. Since it was a doubleheader, both contests were scheduled for seven innings rather than the standard nine.

The Oilers and Bucs have now gone to extra frames four times in five meetings. They square off again at 7 p.m. Friday at Seymour Park.

Peninsula moves to 8-6 in the ABL, good for third place. The Bucs (10-7) trail the first-place Mat-Su Miners (11-6) by one game.

"It was a war of attrition," Oilers coach Dennis Machado said after Game 2, which ended just before 11 p.m. "The guys kept battling, stuck it out and found a way to pull out a win."

Manny Acosta sent an opposite-field single to right field off reliever Brian McIlhenny to score Tanner Rust from second base with two outs in the bottom of the eighth in Game 2.

Anchorage right fielder Boomer Collins fielded the liner in stride and sent a one-hopper to catcher Joe Winterburn, who was in position to apply the tag.

The throw beat Rust by a step, but Rust slid safely under the tag on a call that left Winterburn fuming. He threw his mask and glove to the turf as the Oilers stormed the field.

"I was just praying he was going to score," Acosta said of Rust, who reached on a two-out walk and advanced to second when Ryan McChesney walked on four pitches. "I didn't want to go out there for another inning."

Hard to blame Acosta, who was 2 for 3 in a second game in which the Oilers struck out 11 times and were 1 of 9 with runners in scoring position.

Peninsula bats have been cold the past three games and nothing changed Thursday. The squad struck out a combined 20 times and finished 2 of 17 with men in scoring position.

Much of the credit goes to the Anchorage staff, which allowed eight hits on the day and escaped a slew of jams.

But for as good the Bucs were, the Oilers' pitchers answered.

Kellen St. Luce and J.D. Salles combined on the shutout in Game 2, and three of the four Anchorage runs in the first game were unearned.

"It starts with the pitching and defense and the guy behind the plate calling a good game," Machado said of the Oilers having a chance to win despite the poor hitting. "It speaks to their competitiveness and toughness and shows this is a good club that can find a way to win."

The mood would have been different had Acosta not delivered.

Anchorage notched the decisive runs in the top of the 10th of Game 1 after it put runners on first and second with one out.

Collins singled to left-center field on a 2-0 pitch against Cameron McVey to score Jamison Rowe, who entered as a pinch runner.

After Peninsula's Mike Miller committed his first error of the season at shortstop to prolong the inning, Jake Valdez beat out a would-be double play to score another and make it 4-2.

Machado was irate with the call and was ejected for arguing the decision.

The Oilers benefited from eight walks but failed to turn them into runs, going 1 of 8 with runners in scoring position.

Despite that, Peninsula clawed back from a 2-0 deficit.

Troy Channing hit his team-leading third home run in league play when he sent a shot over the wall in left field to cut the lead to 2-1 in the second. That broke a 23-inning scoreless streak for the Oilers against the Bucs, dating back to a 4-0 loss in 13 innings last week.

Miller, hitting third in the lineup for the first time, evened the score at 2 with a single to left on the first pitch he saw from reliever Conner Kendrick in the bottom of the sixth.

The RBI scored Greg Anderson, who walked to lead off the inning and advanced to second on a Chris Mallory sacrifice bunt.

That would be all the Oilers would score in a game in which they stranded eight runners and managed four hits.

"We've got good hitters on this team," Acosta said. "It'll come around for us."

Peninsula had plenty of chances.

Collins robbed Zach Kirskey of what would have been a go-ahead double, or perhaps a triple, with two outs in the bottom of the fifth. With runners on first and second base after a pair of walks, Kirksey sent a deep drive down the right field line and Collins fully extended to make the catch going back and to his left.

The Oilers also had a chance to win it in the bottom of the seventh, loading the bases with one out thanks to three walks. Kirksey and Anderson, however, struck out in consecutive plate appearances to kill the rally.

Mark Winkelman took the loss for the Oilers, pitching 2 1-3 innings of relief before leaving in the 10th after he walked two to put runners on first and second.

Colin Snow earned the win as he tossed two shutout innings in relief for the Bucs.

"That's a very good team," Machado said.


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