The Peninsula Oilers rebounded from Tuesday's 7-3 loss to the Fubon Bulls of Taiwan with a 5-3 win in the first game of a two-game series against the Omaha, Neb., Strike Zone Wednesday night at Coral Seymour Memorial Park at Kenai.
"(Ty) Dunham pitched a good game, he had one inning where he lost concentration and they (Omaha) snuck a couple runs in, but pitching overall was better tonight," Oilers couch Mike Coutts said of the win.
The Oilers started out on the wrong foot, though, as left fielder Luke Salas was ejected in the first inning after trying to steal second following his base hit. Dave Pellegrine came in fresh and replaced Salas.
Jared McGuire and Nick Kliebert each hit singles following Salas' ejection, but neither would score as the first inning came to a close.
First baseman Tim Huben was the first Strike Zone member to get on base after Dunham surrendered his first walk in the top of the third inning.
Dunham notched two strikeouts through the first two innings and allowed no hits. In the top of the third inning, though, the Strike Zone's catcher and manager Joe Siwa smashed a double into left field that brought Huben in for the first run of the game.
Siwa would score following a single and Dunham allowed his second walk against the next batter, but a double play by the Oilers brought them back to the plate in the bottom of the third inning.
At the plate, the Oilers recieved a double by Jake Kahaulelio, and two singles from Pellegrine and John McCarthy. Kahaulelio and Pellgrine would both score to knot the game at 2-2.
"I just found the holes today," Kahaulelio said regarding his 3-for-5 hitting for the game.
After a scoreless fourth inning, Kahaulelio scored his second run of the night in the fifth inning and Pellegrine scored on a balk call as the Oilers pushed their lead to 5-2.
Pellgrine finshed 2-for-3 with two runs.
"Like my teamates say, 'Keep hitting the ball hard and the baseball gods will bless you,'" Kahaulelio said with a chuckle.
Dunham allowed two hits in the sixth inning, but the Oilers were able to recover on the field with their defensive play, including a ball hit up the middle that bounced off of Dunham and landed in the hands of shortstop Nick Kliebert, who gave a shovel-pass to Kahaulelio at second base for the out.
Matthew Meyer was brought in at pitcher for the Oilers in the seventh and threw two strikeouts early in the frame.
Meyer got into a jam and found himself with the bases loaded, two outs, and on a full-count, though. Meyer's next pitch was ruled a strike to put the game into the eighth inning.
"Matt (Meyer) hasn't pitched much ... he's still recovering from an arm injury in the spring, so we're trying to bring him in slow," coach Coutts said.
Strike Zone shortstop Alex Patsa argued the call and was tossed from the game.
The Strike Zone would score in the eighth though to close within 5-3. The score brought in Chase Christianson to the mound for the Oilers.
Christianson didn't allow a hit and had one strikeout to get the save.
"Chase (Christianson) closed well; he comes in and just throws hard and proves himself all the time," teammate Kahaulelio said of Christianson.
David Newby started the Oilers' half of the eighth with a base hit. Newby would steal second base before being tagged out in an attempt to steal third, before Christianson would end the game.
"We're swinging the bats well and getting deeper in the counts," coach Coutts said. "We're just trying to get better everyday."
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