Mother Nature hasn’t been kind to the Alaska Goldpanners of Fairbanks this summer, a team that has struggled just to play baseball in Fairbanks and has a few games still on the schedule to be made up, so when the team showed up at Coral Seymour Memorial Park on Thursday for a game with the Peninsula Oilers with a light rain falling, the Panners wasted no time in getting an official game in.
All that was needed for the Panners to notch a 6-0 win was five innings and 1 hour, 11 minutes.
Tylor McGill had no trouble in the wet, pitching all five innings for the Panners with no runs on two hits and seven strikeouts. McGill (4-0) threw 55 pitches with 42 strikes.
“I wanted to get ahead with first-pitch strikes,” McGill said. “It set me up for any others. My curveball and change-up were all working today.”
Dan Kolodin (1-3) took the loss with six runs (three earned) given up on six hits, one walk and three strikeouts.
McGill said with the wet mound, it was becoming increasingly difficult to keep the dirt and mud off his cleats, but his throws weren’t affected.
“The wind was blowing in, so it was helping me, not against me,” McGill said. “The mud was building up on the mound so I was slipping a bit, I just had to get my feet turned in.”
The Oilers (10-20) sunk to 11 games back of the Panners (19-7) in the Alaska Baseball League American standings. Fairbanks holds an impressive overall season record of 31-8.
Oilers coach Kyle Richardson said he thought the conditions had a minimal impact on the outcome of the game. Between innings, the Oilers made repeated attempts to lay down dry dirt and gravel to soak up any excess water on the infield.
“There was one play that I’ve seen (shortstop) Mylz (Jones) make over and over, with the ball in the hole where he didn’t quite get all his throw on it,” Richardson said. “But that was one play, and I didn’t really see conditions being a problem.
“We needed to get that game in, especially since they’re already struggling with makeup games.”
Today’s Game 2 of the five-game series, to start at 6 p.m., between the Oilers and Panners is looking questionable, with an estimated 60 percent chance of rain.
The Panners took control of Thursday’s contest with a five-run, four-hit second inning, starting with a leadoff double from Tanner Pinkston. Cody Nulph followed that up by reaching base on an error, and an RBI single from Mike Wieland brought Pinkston home for the first run of the game.
After Tyler Mildenberg reached base on an error to load the bases, Kris Paulino sent out a two-RBI double to deep left field. Mildenberg then scored on a wild pitch from Kolodin. Finally, Brandon Caruso hit a sacrifice fly to right field for the first out of the inning that brought Paulino in to score the fifth run.
“It was just pitching mistakes,” Richardson said. “(Pinkston) had the double on an 0-2 count, and Dan laid a cookie over the plate, and Dan knows better than that. He was just having trouble getting it back dialed under control for the rest of that inning.”
Richardson also noted that Fairbanks is a team that can easily catch fire at the plate at any time, a trend that was best exemplified in a 19-run inning against the Anchorage Glacier Pilots on July 12.
“They’re a team that’s very streaky, and when they’re hot, they’re hot,” he said. “But they also put up innings that are one two three, but they are definitely a team that, once they get runners on base, they’re on a roll.”
Scott Hurst added a run in the fourth inning with a single to center field that scored Mildenberg. Any extra runs from the Panners were thwarted in the top of the fifth on a brilliant catch from Jake Sandlin in center field that ended the inning.
Six Goldpanners batters shared a hit apiece, and Paulino added two RBI to his total. Mildenberg scored two runs. Jordan Sanford and AJ Hernandez had the Oilers’ only two hits, including a double from Hernandez.
Goldpanners 6, Oilers 0, 5 innings
Goldpanners AB R H BI Oilers AB R H BI
Crso lf 2 0 0 1 Sndl cf 2 0 0 0
Hrst cf 3 0 1 1 Snfd lf 2 0 1 0
Hyes rf 1 0 1 0 Rbnz 3b 2 0 0 0
Bzin dh 3 0 0 0 Jnes ss 2 0 0 0
Pnks 1b 3 1 1 0 Zrte 1b 2 0 0 0
Nlph ss 3 1 0 0 Mnoz c 2 0 0 0
Wlnd c 3 1 1 1 Pske dh 2 0 0 0
Mldn 1b 2 2 1 0 Hrnz 2b 1 0 1 0
Plno 2b 2 1 1 2 Rose rf 1 0 0 0
Totals 22 6 6 5 Totals 16 0 2 0
Goldpanners 050 10 — 6
Oilers 000 00 — 0
2B — Pinkston, Paulino, Hernandez. HP — Hayes. SF — Caruso. SB — Hayes, Mildenberg. CS — Sanford. LOB — Goldpanners 4, Oilers 1.
Goldpanners IP H R ER BB SO
McGill, W 5.0 2 0 0 0 7
Kolodin, L 5.0 6 6 3 1 3
WP — Kolodin. PB — Munoz. HB — Kolodin. P-S — McGill 55-42, Kolodin 77-48. T — 1:11.