Between inconsistent pitching and lean batting, the Peninsula Oilers simply could not get anything going against the Anchorage Bucs on Wednesday night at Coral Seymour Memorial Park.
The Oilers dropped the rubber match of a five-game series 4-2 and are now 2-12 in their last 14 contests, dating back to July 5. The loss leaves them with a 9-16 American League division record in the Alaska Baseball League, seven games behind the Alaska Goldpanners of Fairbanks (13-6).
The win was huge for the Bucs (17-10), who are now tied for the lead in the American League with the Panners.
“Coming here and getting the series is pretty big,” said Bucs coach Tony Cappuccilli. “It keeps us there, and the tough part is (Fairbanks has) had some rainouts that they’re supposed to make up, and it looks like they’re not gonna have to based on the league’s decision.
“We’re gonna have to go out and play our best baseball and try to control our own destiny.”
Trevor Lacosse received the win on the mound for Anchorage, going five innings and giving up two runs (none earned) on five hits, four walks and six strikeouts. Lacosse lowered his ERA to 2.02 with the performance, good for second in the ABL.
“He honestly didn’t have his stuff, and he’s been sharper than that,” Cappuccilli said. “He battled through it and wasn’t giving up hard-hit balls, so he set the tone by battling through without having his best stuff.”
Nick Rogowski (1-3) recorded the loss for the Oilers, tossing 126 pitches for the night in seven innings of work, giving up four runs on six hits, seven walks and four strikeouts.
Early base-running mistakes cost both teams, as the Oilers shortstop Mylz Jones was caught stealing home on a muffed pitch that never made it far off base, and the Bucs saw two runners tagged out on separate attempts to steal second.
Jones made up for his out with a few big plays on field, including a long throw to first in the top of the eighth that ended the inning.
After giving up two runs in the second inning, the Oilers came back to tie the game up in the bottom of the fourth, starting with a double from Josh Rose that bounced off the center-field wall. Jones followed that up with a center-field single that just made it through the Anchorage defense to score AJ Hernandez.
The crucial point came in the top of the fifth, with Rogowski on the mound. The inning started with a scary incident that saw Bucs batter Cade Reiten beaned in the side of his head and collapse to the dirt. Reiten stayed down for over a minute clutching his head, eventually sat up and then walked gingerly off the field. Cappuccilli said Reiten was taken to the hospital for precautionary scans but is otherwise OK.
From there, Mark Krueger and Evan Powell both drew walks to load the bases with two outs. Grant Palmer followed up with a single past second baseman AJ Hernandez that brought Dylan Butler in to score the go-ahead run.
In the bottom of the ninth, Jones came up clutch again, sending a double to left field with one out to get on base. That was followed by a walk from Alex Rubanowitz, but Jordan Sanford struck out and Ethan McGill sent a grounder to second base that ended the game.
The Oilers will face the Chugiak-Eagle River Chinooks at Loretta French Field today at 6 p.m., before getting a break from league play with two ABL Showcase games Friday and Saturday in Anchorage. Sunday marks the ABL Home Run Derby and the All-Star game at Mulcahy Park in Anchorage.
Bucs 4, Oilers 2
Bucs AB R H BI Oilers AB R H BI
Cpld ss 4 0 0 0 Sdln cf 3 1 0 0
Rtn 3b 2 0 0 0 Jnes ss 5 0 1 0
West c 2 0 0 0 Rbwz 3b 3 0 0 0
Btlr cf 5 1 1 0 Snfd lf 4 0 0 1
Krgr dh 2 1 0 0 McGl 1b 4 0 1 0
Pwll 3b 2 0 1 1 Trmn dh 3 0 0 0
Plmr 2b 3 1 1 1 Zrte c 4 0 1 0
Lych 1b 4 1 2 0 Hrdz 2b 3 1 1 0
Ware lf 3 0 1 1 Rose rf 4 0 2 0
Stne rf 3 0 1 1 ---- -- -- -- --
Totals 30 4 7 4 Totals 33 2 6 1
Bucs 020 010 100 —4
Oilers 100 100 000 —2
2B — Powell, Lynch, Jones, Rose. SF — Sanford. S — Stone. SB — Butler 2, Sandlin. CS — Copeland, Stone, Jones. LOB — Bucs 9, Oilers 12.
IP H R ER BB SO
Lacosse, W 5 5 2 0 4 6
Lenstrohm 2 0 0 0 1 0
Godzak, S 2 1 0 0 2 3
Rogowski, L 7 6 4 4 7 4
Torrey 2 1 0 0 0 1
WP — Lacrosse. HB — Rogowski 2. T — 2:54.