The Oilers defeated the Mat-Su Miners 3-2 in nine innings in the opening game of a doubleheader that was scheduled for two seven-inning games at Coral Seymour Memorial Park in Kenai.
The second game was still in progress as the Clarion went to press. The two teams were tied at 0 after 11 innings. The Oilers failed to get a hit in nine innings against Mat-Su starter Blake Dietrich and in another two innings against reliever James Allen.
For the Oilers, Kellen Moen, Tyler Garrison, Adam Heredia and Jorge Marban kept a clean slate.
The win in the first game allowed the Oilers to take over first place in the Alaska Baseball League with a 12-4 record. The Miners are now 11-5.
The Miners had several great chances to score in the game. In the fifth against Moen, Wesley Thigpen led off with a double. David Lyon then singled, putting runners at first and third with nobody out.
Moen got out of the jam by getting Quinn Pippin to strike out, Matt Wessinger to pop out and, after walking the bases loaded, getting Matt Ozanne to strike out.
In the eighth inning, Heredia entered the game and hit Pablo Bermudez to open the inning. Thigpen then sacrificed Bermudez to second and Lyon was intentionally walked.
Marban came on for Heredia and got a fly ball that center fielder Ryan Gebhart made a nice play on. Bermudez was doubled off of second.
The Oilers had a solid scoring chance in the 10th off of reliever James Allen. Gebhart led off with a walk and Garrett Wittels knocked a sacrifice bunt to move Gebhart to second.
Stephen Piscotty then hit a ground ball to second to move Gebhart to third. After Jeff Popick walked, Patrick Wisdom popped out.
In the first game, the Oilers came back from a 2-0 deficit to get the extra-inning win.
Sean Matigan, who just joined the Oilers on Monday, started the two-out rally in the ninth inning with a walk.
"Two outs anything can happen," Matigan told 1140 AM after the game. "What you got to do is get on base."
Still, the rally did not look promising when Davis Page quickly fell behind 0-2 against Miners reliever and loser Gage Smith.
On the 0-2 pitch, Matigan, who had been caught stealing in the seventh inning, stole second while Page took a ball.
Matigan said on the radio that 0-2 can be a good pitch on which to run, because a pitcher will often throw an off-speed pitch on that count.
Off-speed pitches also were on Page's mind as he awaited the 1-2 pitch. Page said in a radio interview that Smith had thrown him two off-speed pitches earlier in the count. He said he was sitting on another off-speed pitch. He got that pitch and hit it just past the second baseman for the game-winning RBI.
The game-winning hit by Page, who had just entered the game in the top of the eighth, awarded another dominant performance by the Oilers pitching staff.
After Eddie Orozco of the Oilers threw a no-hitter in the second game of Monday's doubleheader sweep of the Miners, the Miners quickly got to work on Oilers starter Jake Sabol in the first game on Tuesday.
Sabol, who came in 2-0 with a 0.47 ERA, gave up a leadoff double to Miners shortstop Bret Schwartz. Sabol would give up two more hits in the inning, and Tyler Ruch scored on a ground-out by Nick DeBiasse and Andy Mee scored on a single by Pablo Bermudez.
After that, the Oilers staff reverted to its no-hitting ways.
Sabol would pitch the next four innings without allowing a hit. Chad Smith, reported to be hitting 93 mph with his fastball, threw three hitless innings, while winner Mike Wolford finished with a hitless inning for the win.
The Oilers battled right back in the bottom of the first inning. Tyler Grimes led off with a single and stole second. With one away, Grimes then stole third and Piscotty drove Grimes home with a ground-out.
Starter Geoffrey Davenport slowed down the Oilers for 6 1-3 innings, allowing just four hits while striking out seven.
After leaving a runner on third in the fifth, the Oilers tied the game in the sixth with an unearned run off Davenport.
With one out, Garrett Wittels doubled. He moved to third base on a ground-out by Piscotty. With Jeff Popick at the plate, Miners catcher Wesley Thigpen had a passed ball. The ball got away from Thigpen just far enough for Wittels to beat Davenport to the plate with a headfirst slide.
The Oilers now take Wednesday off before a brutal, pivotal trip to Fairbanks to take on the Athletes in Action Fire and Alaska Goldpanners of Fairbanks. The Oilers will play 10 ABL games in just seven days in the Interior.
Tuesday's first game
Oilers 3, Miners 2, 9 inn.
Miners AB R H BI Oilers AB R H BI
Schwtz ss 4 0 1 0 Grims ss 4 1 1 0
Ruch lf 4 1 0 0 Gebhrt cf 3 0 0 0
Mee rf 4 1 1 0 Wittels 3b 4 1 1 0
DeBise 1b 3 0 0 1 Pisctty lf 4 0 1 1
Bermdz cf 3 0 1 1 Popick rf 4 0 0 0
Thigpn c 4 0 0 0 Wsdm dh 4 0 0 0
Whthd dh 4 0 0 0 Thnisn 3b 1 0 0 0
Kaup 3b 2 0 0 0 Matign lf 1 1 1 0
Wssgr 2b 3 0 0 0 Leon c 1 0 0 0
---- -- -- -- -- Miller ph 1 0 1 0
---- -- -- -- -- Page c 1 0 1 1
---- -- -- -- -- Kohan 2b 2 0 0 0
---- -- -- -- -- Charls ph 0 0 0 0
Totals 31 2 3 2 Totals 30 3 6 2
Mat-Su 200 000 000 --0
Peninsula 100 001 001 --3
E -- Theunissen. LOB -- Miners 5, Oilers 6. 2B -- Schwartz, Wittels. SB -- Ruch, Mee, Wessinger, Bermudez, Grimes 2, Gebhart, Matigan. CS -- Matigan. S -- Leon.
IP H R ER BB SO
Davenport 6 1-3 4 2 1 2 7
G. Smith, L 2 1-3 2 1 1 2 1
Sabol 5 3 2 2 2 3
C. Smith 3 0 0 0 1 3
Wolford, W 1 0 0 0 0 0
WP -- Davenport. BK -- Davenport. PB -- Thigpen.
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