The Peninsula Oilers probably can’t wait to get home.
Still seeking their first road victory after being swept by the Mat-Su Miners earlier this week, the Oilers squandered an early 2-0 lead on Saturday in falling to Athletes in Action, 4-2, after the game was called in the top of the eighth inning due to rain.
The Oilers were threatening before the rain came, with a man on third and two outs.
After opening the season 11-1 at home and then dropping their first three away games two in extra innings to the Miners, the Oilers road woes continued in Fairbanks. Peninsula has lost five straight and is 11-5 overall and 3-5 in the Alaska Baseball League.
Despite an early cushion provided by a Michael Dabbs solo home run in the first inning and a pair of third-inning singles by Juan Martinez and Nick Buss, Martinez later scoring on a wild pitch, the Oilers couldn’t make the lead stand up.
Cruising through the first three innings, facing only one batter over the minimum, helped in part by a first-inning double play, Matt Thomson found himself in a jam in the fourth.
With a man on first and two outs, Thomson walked Kellen Kmiecik and then allowed a two-run double to Bryan Root before striking out Errol Hollinger to end the inning.
He labored through the fifth inning, too, surrendering a one-out double to Quinnlan Clair, who advanced to third on a single by Paul Keller and scored on another single by Joe Lake.
Thomson escaped more trouble, though, by inducing Joel Staples to ground into an inning-ending 4-6-3 double play.
The Oilers had two solid opportunities to score in both the sixth and seventh innings, but blew both chances.
Kyle Melton opened the sixth with a bunt single and advanced to second on a throwing error. After taking third on a wild pitch, Dabbs struck out and AIA starter Justin Harper (5 1/3 innings pitched, 2 runs, 4 hits, 3 Ks, 2 BB) was lifted in favor of Kyle Denney, who proceeded to retire Toby Davis and Jeremiah Mejia on a ground out and pop out, respectively.
After Thomson surrendered another run in the sixth on an RBI double by Root, Matt Wade relieved the right-hander and struck out Keller with the bases loaded.
Nick Goins started the bottom of the seventh with a walk, scampered to second on a passed ball and took third on an Adam Younger grounder. But once again, the Oilers left him stranded as Jim Pollack struck out looking and Martinez grounded out to second base.
The Oilers conclude the two-game series with AIA at 7 p.m. today.
Miners 3, Oilers 2, 10 inn.
After capturing a 10-inning, 1-0 victory over the Oilers on Thursday, the Mat-Su Miners staged more late inning fireworks on Friday.
Twice rallying from one-run deficits, the Miners scored the game-winner in the bottom of the 10th inning when Joey August singled in Carl Uhl for a 3-2 victory.
Called upon to pitch the 10th, Joey Haug opened the frame by walking Uhl, who advanced to second on a Joe Ercolano sacrifice bunt.
August then wasted no time, singling home Uhl for another dramatic victory.
The Oilers, though, did manage five hits off Miners’ starter Jason Erickson, who allowed only two runs (one earned) through eight innings while striking out six.
A two-out rally in the third gave the Oilers an early 1-0 advantage.
After Joe Patterson popped out and Adam Younger went down swinging, Nick Buss reached first on a bunt and took second on an error.
Consecutive singles by Juan Martinez and Michael Dabbs brought Buss home with the game’s first run.
But the Miners knotted the game in the fourth when Ercolano opened the inning with a double and came around to score on a base hit by Michael Ewing (2-for-4).
Once again, though, the Oilers recaptured the lead in the seventh courtesy of a Jeremiah Mejia solo home run.
But it didn’t last long as Ercolano was hit by a Paul Smyth pitch with one out in the bottom of the eighth. He then stole second and scored on another RBI single by Ewing.
Oilers’ starter Chance Deason limited the Miners to one run on three hits while striking out four and walking none through 5 1/3 innings of work.
Carlos Luna and John Dunn then combined for 1 2/3 innings of scoreless relief before Smyth allowed the tying run and Haug the game-winner.
Steve Kalush helped preserve the win for Mat-Su with two innings of scoreless relief, striking out five and walking three.
FIRE 4, OILERS 2, 7 inn., rain
Peninsula 101 000 0 2 5 1
AIA 000 211 0 4 11 2
Thomson, Wade (6) and Pollack; Harper, Denney (6), Tweddale (7) and Hollinger. W Harper. L Thomson. 2B Peninsula: Weigle; AIA: Root (2), Clair. HR Peninsula: Dabbs.
MINERS 3, OILERS 2, 10 inn.
Oilers AB R H BI Miners AB R H BI
Buss dh 5 1 1 0 Uhl cf 4 1 0 0
Martinez 2b 4 0 1 0 Erclano lf 3 0 1 1
Dabbs rf 4 0 1 1 Rsmusen dh 3 1 1 0
Davis 3b 4 0 0 0 August ph 4 0 1 0
Mejia cf 4 1 1 1 Ewing 1b 0 1 0 0
Goins 1b 3 0 1 0 Hlnihi ss 4 0 1 0
Lundy lf 3 0 0 0 Brown rf 4 0 1 0
Patterson c 4 0 0 0 Ortiz c 3 0 1 1
Younger ss 3 0 0 0 Price 3b 3 0 1 0
---- -- -- -- -- Terhune 2b 2 0 0 0
Totals 34 2 5 2 Totals 33 3 6 3
Peninsula 001 000 100 0 2 5 1
Mat-Su 000 100 010 1 3 6 2
E Martinez, Terhune (2). DP Oilers 1, Miners 1. LOB Oilers 5, Miners 8. 2B Ercolano, Ortiz. HR Mejia. SB Lundy, Ercolano. CS Goins. S Ercolano.
IP H R ER BB SO
Deason 5 1/3 3 1 1 0 4
Luna 1 1/3 1 0 0 1 2
Dunn 1/3 0 0 0 1 1
Smyth 2 1 1 1 1 3
Haug 1/3 1 1 1 1 0
Erickson 8 5 2 1 0 6
Kalush 2 0 0 0 3 5
HBP by Smyth (Ercolano).
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