Oilers hurler Jarryd Summers has sputtered through a rough stretch lately, unable to work through a single inning in two of his last three starts.
Maybe he just needed some international competition to get him back on track.
Summers allowed just one hit and struck out seven over six strong innings in leading the Peninsula Oilers to their sixth shutout of the season, a 1-0 nonconference win over the National Taiwan Sport University on Tuesday night at Coral Seymour Memorial Park.
The Oilers fourth straight win and sixth in their last seven games vaults them to 19-6 overall.
In the first inning, though, it appeared as if Summers (3-1) would get into some early trouble yet again.
But after surrendering a one-out single to Nan-Yao Fang, Taiwan's only hit until the eighth inning, and a subsequent walk, Summers induced an inning-ending 6-4-3 double play to escape the opening frame unscathed.
Taiwan starter and loser Chia-Hang Li was just as impressive, scattering one run and two hits over seven effective innings, while striking out eight and walking four.
He tamed the Oilers in the first by whiffing Kawika Emsley-Pai and Kyle Mihaylo after giving up a single to P.J. Sequierra. Li then struck out Anthony Aliotti, his third in a row, before retiring the next two hitters on a groundout and pop out.
But the Oilers, masters of small ball, capitalized in the third without recording a single hit.
In his second game with the team, Joey Mills' sacrifice bunt was fielded by Li, who's throw to second erased Erik Riedel, making his Oilers' debut.
Mills then advanced to second on a pickoff attempt that was dropped by the shortstop, who was covering second. Following a walk to Tre Dennis, Mills and Dennis swiped third and second, respectively, and Mills came home on a suicide squeeze by Sequierra.
Summers, meanwhile, flipped on the cruise control.
After walking a batter to begin the second but receiving an assist from catcher Emsley-Pai, who caught the runner trying to steal second, Summers proceeded to strike out four in a row in retiring eight straight through the end of the fourth.
An inning-opening walk to begin the fifth didn't come back to hurt him, either, as he induced a sacrifice bunt, a groundout and a pop out to get out of the inning.
Summers again found himself in a tricky spot in the sixth after walking two of the first four batters, his fourth and fifth free passes of the evening, but recorded two more strikeouts to exit the game unharmed.
The Oilers also had runners on first and second in the fifth when Vince Belnome singled to right and Dennis walked, but Li induced Sequierra to roll out.
Will Currier came on relief of Summers in the seventh, but threw just three pitches, all balls, before injuring himself and leaving the game.
That resulted in the Oilers bringing in Dan Lombardozzi, who finished off the walk, which got credited to Currier, and then allowed the runner to take second on a sacrifice bunt. The right-hander then preserved the shutout with a strikeout and a first-pitch groundout.
Oilers' reliever Brandon Berl surrendered a single to start the eighth, Peng-Hsiang Gao advancing to second on a groundout. But Gao would be stranded there, one of nine men left on base, as Berl retired the next two batters on a line out and a strikeout.
Closer Seth Harvey then pitched the ninth, picking up his team-high seventh save of the season, but not without some drama. He hit the first batter with a pitch and then surrendered a single to Po Yu Lo, putting runners at first and second with no outs. After picking up two outs on a strikeout and pop out, he loaded the bases with a walk before finishing the game by inducing a line out to himself.
The Oilers continue their 14-game homestand at 7 p.m. today when they conclude their three-game series with Taiwan before resuming Alaska Baseball League play with a three-game set against the Anchorage Glacier Pilots beginning on Friday.
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