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Oilers, Pilots split twin bill

Posted: July 22, 2014 - 10:08pm

Even though the Peninsula Oilers are 9 1-2 games behind the Alaska Goldpanners in the Alaska Baseball League American division with the end of the season approaching, a split doubleheader doesn’t sit well with head coach Kyle Richardson.

Especially with the way they lost Tuesday at Coral Seymour Memorial Park.

The Oilers split with the Anchorage Glacier Pilots, winning the first game 4-1 and dropping the second 2-1. The first game broke a six-game losing streak for the Oilers, but errors and missed opportunities highlighted the second.

Jimmy Nesselt (3-3) ended the evening by pitching a complete seven-inning contest with a team season-high 10 strikeouts, but was given the loss, even though he gave up only one earned run and zero walks. In 102 pitches, he had 74 strikes.

“Everything I threw today was for a strike, and I could really throw anything for any count, and everything was working today,” Nesselt said. “I had really good chemistry with (catcher) Gabe (Munoz) back there, and even with a few errors here and there, that doesn’t bother me.”

After a heated pep talk with his team on the field, coach Richardson said he is frustrated with the consistent errors that the Oilers have had in recent weeks.

“I was upset with the effort in the second game,” Richardson said. “That was the best outing that Jimmy’s thrown, and his last two outings have been really good. He had a good one against the Bucs (July 15) and I thought this one was even better, but … we basically gave (the Pilots) two runs and gave him a loss.

“That bothers me when you have a team that didn’t compete as well as they could for a guy that was giving his all.”

The Oilers (10-19) will face the Goldpanners five straight games at home, starting with a 6 p.m. game Thursday.

“Winning the league and everything would be nice, but a very close second is player development and making sure these players improve over the course of the summer,” Richardson said. “It’s not a fact that we’re in it or out of it, but if you have a guy that goes out and pitches like that, and you as a team allow yourself to lose like that, that speaks more to me about who you are as a person or ballplayer.

“The best thing I can equate it to is like when you have a friend who keeps flaking on you, and you start finding out that he keeps flaking all the time, and you realize that he’s not just flaking out, he’s just a flake. You gotta call a spade a spade.”

The Pilots came back from a 1-0 deficit, beginning in the fourth inning. Chester Pak reached first base on a fielding error by Alex Rubanowitz, leading to a single from Trevor Podratz to right field that brought in Pak, but the Oilers ended the inning on the next batter with a 3-4 double play.

In the top of the sixth, Pak broke up the tie with a triple to center field that scored Clayton Taylor. The play might have been able to be avoided, but another near miss, this time by right fielder Josh Rose, put the Pilots ahead.

“I didn’t feel we competed hard enough or well enough for that guy that was in control and doing whatever he could to give us a win,” Richardson said. “I wasn’t happy with the effort, and that’s how our season’s been, it’s just inconsistent ability from nine guys to compete at the best level they can.”

Jordan Sanford started the bottom of the sixth with a leadoff single and Jeff Paschke followed it up with a sacrifice bunt, but after Drake Zarate was put out with a quick reaction from pitcher Henri Faucheux, Gabriel Munoz ended the inning with a sacrifice fly to right field.

Nevertheless, Nesselt stayed golden on the hill. Nesselt said he was able to keep the Pilots guessing with a slider that was a big part of his 10 strikeouts.

“I don’t normally have a slider like that, but it was working really well for me today,” he said. “I could throw it really any time I wanted to, and that’s where I got a lot of my strikeouts today.”

Munoz blasted an in-the-park home run in the bottom of the second inning with two outs, giving the Oilers the lead.

In the first game, Tyler Gibson (4-0) got the win on the mound, pitching six innings and giving up four hits, two walks and five strikeouts. Chad Rieser closed out with the save, striking out all three batters he faced.

“I was trying to keep them off-balance and let my teammates work behind me,” Gibson said. “I was using my slider to keep them off-balance, and use four other pitches to my advantage.”

Gibson’s fourth win on the mound this summer leaves him tied for second in the ABL, and said his work in Sunday’s All-Star game helped calm his nerves.

“It mainly helped me to use pitches to my advantage, hit the right spots,” Gibson said.

The Pilots’ Clayton Taylor hit a two-out double in the top of the fourth, but the third out was quickly recorded to strand him on base.

The Oilers gave up a run in the top of the fifth, when shortstop Rubanowitz fumbled the ball trying to tag out a baserunner, then committed another error throwing to catcher Zarate, allowing Riley Adams to score, but Peninsula wasn’t ready to concede. Mylz Jones crushed an RBI double to the left-field wall in the bottom of the fifth that brought home Josh Rose.

Rubanowitz followed that up with a sacrifice fly to right field that scored Nick Rogowski, and Jones scored on an error by right fielder Nikko Saenz, who overthrew the third baseman.

After a pair of singles from Thurman and Zarate, Jeff Pashke sent out a grounder that brought Thurman in to score. With two outs in the inning, Pilots coach Darren Westergaard was ejected for arguing with the home-plate umpire over a call.

Tuesday

Oilers 4, Pilots 1, 1st game

Pilots AB R H BI Oilers AB R H BI

Prio ss 2 0 1 0 Jnes 3b 3 1 1 1

Pak cf 3 0 0 0 Rbwz ss 2 0 1 1

Vrs 3b 3 0 0 0 Snfd lf 3 0 0 0

Pdtz 1b 3 0 0 0 McGl 1b 1 0 1 0

Tylr dh 3 0 1 0 Trmn 1b 2 1 1 0

Wood lf 3 0 1 0 Zrte c 3 0 2 0

Snz rf 3 0 1 0 Pske dh 3 0 0 1

Trx c 2 1 0 0 Hrdz 2b 3 0 0 0

Dbsn 2b 3 0 0 0 Rose rf 2 1 0 0

---- -- -- -- -- Rgki cf 1 1 0 0

Totals 25 1 4 0 Totals 23 4 6 3

Pilots 000 010 0 —1

Oilers 000 031 X —4

2B — Taylor, Jones. SF —Rubanowitz. SB — Rose. E — Pilots 1, Oilers 2. LOB — Pilots 5, Oilers 4. DP — Oilers 1.

IP H R ER BB SO

Pilots

Blanchard, L 6 6 4 3 2 2

Oilers

Gibson, W 6 4 1 0 2 5

Rieser, S 1 0 0 0 0 3

PB — Theroux. P-S — Blanchard 87-56, Gibson 86-55, Rieser 14-11. T — 1:28.

Pilots 2, Oilers 1, 2nd game

Pilots AB R H BI Oilers AB R H BI

Dbsn ss 3 0 0 0 Jnes ss 3 0 0 0

Adel 3b 3 1 1 0 Rbwz 3b 3 0 0 0

Pak cf 3 1 1 1 Snfd lf 3 0 1 0

Pdtz 1b 3 0 1 0 Pske dh 2 0 0 0

Wgnr lf 3 0 0 0 Zrte 1b 3 0 0 0

Snz rf 3 0 1 0 Mnz c 3 1 0 0

Thrx dh 3 0 0 0 Hrdz 2b 2 0 1 1

Noln c 3 0 0 0 Rose rf 3 0 1 0

Prri 2b 3 0 1 0 Rgki cf 3 0 0 0

Totals 27 2 5 1 Totals 25 1 3 1

Pilots 000 101 0 —2

Oilers 010 000 0 —1

2B — Hernandez. 3B — Pak. SH — Paschke. SB — Perri, Rose. E — Oilers 3, Pilots 2. LOB — Pilots 4, Oilers 5. DP — Oilers 1.

IP H R ER BB SO

Pilots

Faucheux, W 7 3 1 0 1 5

Oilers

Nesselt, L 7 5 2 1 0 10

P-S — Faucheux 96-68, Nesselt 102-74. T — 1:37.

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