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Oilers' Lopez slings two-hitter

Posted: Sunday, June 10, 2001

The saying dictates that if you talk the talk, you'd better walk the walk.

Nelson Lopez, a 6-foot-2 right-handed pitcher from Florida Atlantic University, skipped the talking altogether in getting the 2001 season of the Peninsula Oilers off to a sterling start Friday.

"The one thing we noticed from the first day he got here was the way he walked around," said Oilers manager Brian Green. "You could tell this was important to him.

"That's when we decided that we'd give him the start for our first game."

Lopez justified Green's decision by giving up just two hits in the Oilers' 9-1 victory over the Alaska Goldpanners of Fairbanks Friday at Coral Seymour Memorial Park. It was Peninsula's first game in the Oilers 2001 Hardball Tournament.

In other action Friday, the Anchorage Bucs defeated the Goldpanners 1-0 and the Mat-Su Miners defeated the Oilers 5-2 in the late game.

Lopez got into town Tuesday after going 2-0 this season as a relief pitcher for Florida Atlantic. Except for tossing the ball around a few times, he hadn't pitched since Florida Atlantic's season ended in mid-May.

But the only rust that showed Friday was that of the Panners' hitting strokes. Lopez didn't give up a hit until the fifth inning, and the only run he yielded was unearned.

Making the performance all the more important was that Lopez gave the Oilers a seven-inning complete game. With many players still out of town, Peninsula is still short on pitching.

"The only time I got tired was in the last inning when they had the bases loaded," Lopez said. "Coach came out and told me I had brought my arm slot down.

"I just picked it up and got out of the inning."

Lopez said his job was made a lot easier by the run support he received.

The Oilers had five position players on the field Friday who had gotten into town earlier in the day. With just a one-hour meeting with Green on team defense and offensive execution and signs, the group helped put the nine runs on the board.

Catcher Creighton Kahoalii, one of the players fresh off the plane, led the Oilers' nine-hit attack with two hits and two runs.

Jamie D'Antona had three RBIs for Peninsula, while Bobby Spano had two RBIs, Brian Horwitz scored two runs, Luke Simmons scored two runs and Soldotna's Jackson Coleman scored two runs.

Green is hoping for big things in the middle of the order from Simmons, who hit .366 for the Oilers last year, and D'Antona, a Wake Forest third baseman who was named the NCAA's freshman of the year at his position.

"With those two guys in the middle of the lineup, we should be pretty solid on offense," Green said. "I'm excited about it."

In the second game, the Oilers got another solid start, this time from Seton Hall sophomore Chris Reilly. Reilly yielded just two runs in eight innings, giving the Oilers several chances to win the game.

In the third inning, the Oilers tied the game up at 2-2, then had the bases loaded with one out. Peninsula's Matt Cunningham worked the count full and fouled off a couple of pitches, but Miners starter Travis Hardman collected a huge out when he struck out Cunningham swinging. Peninsula's Trey Hendricks then popped out to end the threat.

In the seventh inning, Spano made it to third base with two outs. Mark Teahen hit a ground ball which the second baseman Matt Carullo bobbled, but he recovered to get Teahen at first by inches.

The Miners made the Oilers pay for the missed opportunities when they got to Oilers reliever and loser Joey Newby for three runs in the ninth inning.

"It's still unbelievable what Lopez and Reilly did for us today," Green said. "We only have five pitchers for the five games we could possibly play in this tournament.

"I told them there was no looking in the dugout for help, and they did the job."

Friday

OILERS 9, GOLDPANNERS 1

Oilers AB R H BI Panners AB R H BI

Spano ss 4 0 1 2 Perez cf 2 1 0 0

Horwitz cf 3 2 0 1 Kitchen 3b 4 0 0 0

Simmons 1b 3 2 1 1 Leathers 1b 2 0 0 1

D'Antona 3b 4 0 1 3 Keefener rf 3 0 0 0

Teahen 2b 4 0 3 0 Tugwell ss 2 0 0 0

Cunningham lf 3 0 0 0 Strain 2b 2 0 0 0

Kahoalii c 3 2 2 0 Purdom c 2 0 0 0

Coleman rf 2 2 0 0 Carrow lf 3 0 1 0

Hendricks dh 3 1 1 1 Lopez c 1 0 0 0

Totals 29 9 9 8 Totals 23 1 2 1

Peninsula 020 011 5 -- 9

Alaska 100 000 0 -- 1

E -- D'Antona 2, Keefener 3, Strain. DP -- Oilers 1. LOB -- Peninsula 12, Alaska 7. SB -- Horwitz, Tugwell, Purdom. CS -- D'Antona. SF -- Leathers.

IP H R ER BB SO

Oilers

Lopez, W (1-0) 7 2 1 0 5 5

Goldpanners

Rawson, L (0-1) 4 4 2 1 4 2

Basch 2 2 2 1 4 1

Perez 1 3 5 5 3 2

HBP -- by Rawson (Teahen); by Perez (Simmons). WP -- Lopez. PB -- Kahoalii 2, Purdom.

Friday

MINERS 5, OILERS 2, 9 inn.

Miners AB R H BI Oilers AB R H BI

Howard lf 4 1 2 1 Spano ss 3 1 0 0

Carullo 2b 3 0 0 1 Horwitz cf 3 0 1 0

McIntyre c 4 0 1 2 Simmons 1b 3 0 0 1

Hofius 1b 4 0 0 0 Kahoalii c 4 0 1 0

Hardman p 0 0 0 0 Coleman rf 2 1 1 0

Griffin 3b 4 2 3 0 Cunningham lf 4 0 0 0

Oseguera dh 4 0 1 1 D'Antona 3b 4 0 3 1

Melendez ss 2 1 0 0 Hendricks dh 3 0 0 0

Bauder cf 4 0 1 0 Teahen 2b 4 0 0 0

Rutkowski rf 3 1 0 0 ---- -- -- -- --

Totals 32 5 8 5 Totals 30 2 6 2

Mat-Su 011 000 003 -- 5

Peninsula 002 000 000 -- 2

E -- Melendez, Simmons. LOB -- Miners 7, Oilers 11. 2B -- D'Antona. SB -- Griffin 2, McIntyre, Howard. CS -- Carullo, Bauder, Kahoalii, Coleman. S -- Melendez, Horwitz. SF -- Simmons.

IP H R ER BB SO

Miners

Hardman 4 3 2 2 3 5

Oseguera, W (1-0) 4 3 0 0 3 1

Griffin, S (1) 1 0 0 0 2 0

Oilers

Reilly 8 5 2 2 3 6

Newby, L (0-1) 1 3 3 3 2 2

HBP -- by Newby (Rutkowski).



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