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Oilers' ABL title hopes take major hit

Loss to Miners puts Peninsula 3 1-2 games off the pace

Posted: July 19, 2012 - 11:59pm  |  Updated: July 20, 2012 - 12:05am

PALMER — After suffering a 5-3 loss on Wednesday, the Mat Su Miners had a polar opposite performance against the Peninsula Oilers on Thursday night.

The Miners hit everything the Oilers threw at them, sped around the bases and got yet another strong pitching performance from Andrew McGee.

The result — a 10-5 win over the Oilers that slimmed the Oilers’ chances of defending their ABL title. The Anchorage Glacier Pilots swept a doubleheader to improve to 22-11, while the Oilers dropped 3 1-2 games behind at 18-14. The Oilers have just eight games left to play.

Today, the Oilers play the Miners in a nonleague game at 1 p.m. at Mulcahy Park in Anchorage. The game can be heard on 1140 AM.

“The Miners hit the ball well, there’s not anything different we would have done,” said Oilers assistant coach Kyle Richardson. “That’s a good starter that just had a bad day. We’re better than our record, and it’s great to see the guys go out and play hard all nine innings.”

McGee, who has been a beast out of the Miners’ bullpen in recent weeks, got the nod after Mat-Su’s ace was lost to injury. About an hour before the game was set to start, starter Jay Calhoun pulled an oblique, and may be out for the season. The Miners called on McGee to take the hill and stop the rolling Oilers, and he did just that. McGee went five innings,

striking out five and giving up two earned runs on five hits.

“That was huge,” said Miners head coach Chris Gordon. “He’s been in every position for us this year, you name it. Baseball is all about the starting pitcher. He did great and gave our offense a chance.”

The Oilers were prepared for a pitchers duel. J.D. Salles had a rough day on the mound, uncharacteristically. Salles gave up five runs on six hits in 2 1-3 innings.

The Oilers’ Josh Miller bounced back from his three-strikeout game on Wednesday in a big way. Miller had three hits and three RBI to lead the Oilers. Nate Ring had two hits and three runs. Ring hit a home run in the seventh inning.

Though the Miners were up by five runs by the second inning, the Oilers did not concede the game. Peninsula scored in four innings. They threatened to break into the Miner lead in the eighth and ninth innings.

With McGee and three relievers working on the mound, Mat-Su churned out 15 hits at the plate. Clint Freeman led the barrage, finishing 3 for 5 with six RBI. Outfielders Bill Cullen and Bobby Boyd posted three hits each in the game. Tino Lipson and Chris Taladay added two hits each.

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