Oilers, Miners tied after 15 innings

Posted: Friday, June 20, 2008

The Peninsula Oilers and the Mat-Su Miners played 15 innings of 1-1 baseball at Hermon Brothers Field in Palmer and were still playing when the Clarion went to press.

Both teams had ample opportunities to score in extra innings, yet neither could capitalize in the Oilers 2008 Alaska Baseball League opener.

After threatening in the fifth but never capitalizing, Peninsula's Vince Belnome opened the seventh with a single, advanced to third on Anthony Aliotti's double and staked his team to a 1-0 lead on Francis Larson's sac fly to center.

The precarious lead was short-lived, though, as Bryce Uhrig began the eighth by surrendering a bunt single to Blake Newalu, who took second on a wild throw to first by third baseman Belnome. Newalu then moved to third on a sacrifice bunt by John Shaffer and knotted the game at one on a Jordin Hood sac fly.

Miners reliever Will Musson and Oilers closer Erik Draxton, who recorded the final out of the eighth, both worked a 1-2-3 ninth innings in sending the game to extras.

The Oilers -- whose top four hitters were a combined 1-for-24 through the 14 1/2 innings -- wasted a two-out baserunner in the 10th when Bryan Horst reached on an error. The Miners, however, squandered a golden opportunity of their own in the bottom half of the frame.

Kevin Rodland reached first on Belnome's second error of the game, advanced to second on a single by Shaffer and moved to third on a pop out to right.

But after Shaffer took second on a passed ball, Draxton induced Kyle Jensen to fly out to left field.

Miners reliever Michael Roca worked five impressive innings of relief, allowing only a 12th-inning single to Aliotti, who was erased on an inning-ending 6-3 double play.

Mat-Su, meanwhile, squandered a great chance in the bottom of the 11th when Wes Dorrell singled, but pinch runner Cortez Cole was picked off first, and Steve Domecus was caught stealing after being walked.

Brandon Berl then sat the Miners down in order in both the 12th and 13th but found himself in trouble in the 14th.

He surrendered a single to Ty Rassmussen, the first of the game for the designated hitter, who was pulled in favor of pinch runner Pat Minogue. Following a four-pitch walk to Cole, Minogue was gunned down at third on a sacrifice bunt attempt by Domecus and Troy Scott and Rodland flew out to end the 14th.

Miners starter Steven Fischbeck was zoned in through five innings, striking out seven while surrendering only three hits.

The lone Oiler to reach base through the first 5 1/3 innings, Anthony Aliotti singled in the second before being erased on a 1-4-3 double play, and singled again with one down in the fifth.

But after stealing second and advancing to third on a throwing error by Miners' catcher Wes Dorrell, Aliotti, who was 4-for-6, was tagged out at home when Fischback fielded a Francis Larson grounder and flipped the ball to Dorrell.

With Larson aboard on the fielder's choice, Jeremy Gould's double moved him to third, but both runners were stranded on a Byran Horst strikeout.

Oilers starter Ross Humes did his job, too, earning a no decision after surrendering three hits in 5 2/3 innings of work with no walks and four strikeouts.

Requiring only 37 pitches to get through the first four innings with just two hits, Humes cruised through the fifth, recording his final strikeout to end the inning, before getting pulled with two outs and a man on first in the sixth.

Uhrig relieved Humes and put runners on first and second after hitting Kyle Jensen with a pitch, but escaped the jam when he induced Ty Rasmussen to line out to second.

Uhrig then issued a two-out, four-pitch walk to Troy Scott in the bottom of the seventh, the first free pass of the game for the Oilers, but caught Dennis Rodland looking at strike three in quelling the threat.

The Oilers and Miners meet again at 7 p.m. today with Peninsula hurler Joe Gardner making his third start of the season.

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