Nine Run Eighth Inning Sinks Panthers, Lose to Oilmen 13-4

06/07/2018 2:00 AM -

Whiting, Ind. – June 6, 2018 -- A nine-run eighth inning proved to be the difference in tonight’s ballgame as the Northwest Indiana Oilmen stormed to victory over the Crestwood Panthers 13-4.  

Christian Poulsen (Maryville College/Schaumburg, Ill.) took the mound for the Panthers after recording three hits the night before against the Bloomington Bobcats.  For the second consecutive start, Poulsen pitched six innings allowing four runs and striking out six, exiting with a no decision.  He was opposed on the mound by Max Franklin (Heartland CC/Chicago Heights, Ill.) who put up similar numbers.  Over his six innings pitched, Franklin allowed four runs on five hits, struck out five and walked six.  He also departed with a no decision.  

“Christian did everything he needed to do in order to keep us in the game,” Panthers manager Isaac Valdez said.  “He was throwing his secondary pitches for strikes and had a lot of success mixing his speeds.”  

The Oilmen opened the scoring and take a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the second inning when Nate Montgomery (Tusculum College/Geneva, Ill.) blasted his first home run of the season to left field which scored Nick Figus (Illinois Wesleyan/Frankfort, Ill.), who was hit by a pitch.  The Panthers would respond in the next half inning and tie the score at two after Shane Peisker (John A. Logan College/Hammond, Ind.) walked and stole three bases, including a daring delayed steal of home.  Maurey Garrett (Heartland CC/Flossmoor, Ill.) would also score following a walk and a Michael Jahnke (Coe College/Lansing, Ill.) fielder’s choice.  

The Oilmen would reclaim their lead in the bottom of the fourth inning, but RBI singles from Michael Ruffolo (Rockhurst/Norridge, Ill.) and Brian Vance (Saint Joseph’s (Pa.)/Chicago, Ill.) would put the Panthers in front 4-3 in the top of the sixth.  They would later load the bases, but as has been a trend so far this season, the Panthers could not add any key insurance runs.  

“We need to have a better approach at the plate,” said Valdez.  “The Oilmen were pitching us away and we needed to realize that and take balls the other way.  We couldn’t adjust and that cost us.”  

The Panther lead would not last through the bottom of the inning, as CJ Deshazer (Heartland CC/Schaumburg, Ill.) delivered an RBI single to bring the Oilmen level at four.  

Both starters would be relieved in the seventh inning with Ryan Green (Savannah State/Port Royal, S.C.) entering for the Panthers and Norman Standish (South Suburban/Highland, Ind.) for the Oilmen.   

Green would breeze through the seventh inning without allowing a hit but was unable to escape the eighth.  He retired the first batter he faced before allowing consecutive singles to Cory Krolikowski (UM-Duluth/Bartlett, Ill.) and Montgomery.  Green would then walk the next two Oilmen and hit Eric Yachinich (UM-Duluth/Ashland, Wis.) before another single and a Tyler Kenjic (Purdue Northwest/Hobart, Ind.) grand slam put the Oilmen out in front for good 11-4.  Green would record one more out before being pulled in favor of Jahnke.  The Oilmen would tack on two more runs after the pitching change, concluding the scoring after nine runs crossed the plate.  

“When I pulled Ryan from the game, I told him it was a tough situation to be in, but I appreciated his efforts,” said Valdez.  “I’m not sure how much he had been throwing before today, but as he settles in and gets more opportunities on the mound, he’s going to get a lot better.”   

Still without a win six games into the Midwest Collegiate League season, Valdez is looking for his players to step up and be a hero in order to push the Panthers towards their first victory.  

“It’s getting to a point where somebody has to come through with a big hit,” said Valdez.  “Once that happens, the players will feel as though a huge monkey is off their back and they can focus on piling wins together.”  

The Panthers take the field again tomorrow as they host the Joliet Generals at Howie Minas Field at 7:00 p.m.  You can catch tomorrow’s game on the Crestwood Panthers Broadcasting Network with Ryan Zimmerman delivering the play-by-play call, available via Facebook Live on the Crestwood Panthers Facebook page.