After suffering a brief losing streak, a pair of nonleague games against the Seattle Studs have given the Peninsula Oilers some of their swagger back.
After starting the summer 4-2 in the Alaska Baseball League, the Oilers promptly lost five straight in a midsummer swoon.
Friday at Coral Seymour Memorial Ballpark, the Oilers parlayed 11 hits on the day into a 6-2 victory over the Seattle Studs, claiming the two-game series over the Studs.
“It’s good to have games like these that will help give us confidence heading into next week,” said Oilers head coach Kevin Griffin, who is hopeful the solid hitting will continue against the Goldpanners, a team that holds the worst team ERA in the league (4.25).
The Oilers begin a five-day, six-game road trip to Fairbanks to take on the Goldpanners. The series begins Sunday at 7 p.m. at Growden Memorial Park. The Oilers own a 2-1 record against the Panners this year.
“We’ll be ready,” Griffin said. “Every player has had a chance to get on field time.”
Luckily, only one of the losses during the Oilers five-game slump came against an American League opponent, with three of them against the Everett (Washington) Merchants, a team not even involved with the ABL.
The Oilers improved to 6-7 overall, and maintained a 4-4 league mark, still two games ahead of the Anchorage Bucs (4-8) and the Alaska Goldpanners of Fairbanks (1-5).
Griffin said the window of, ‘it’s still early’, has passed, so no excuses will be made from here on out.
“We’ve made a couple of adjustments, and it’s showed,” Griffin said. “They’ve been picking it up.”
Friday, the Oilers notched two early runs in the first inning, then held on as the two starting pitchers traded strikeouts. Cameron Stanton (1-1) picked up his first win of 2015 on the mound, tossing the opening 5 2-3 innings and giving up four hits, two runs, three walks and striking out seven. Stanton is averaging an ERA of 1.92 this summer over 18 2-3 innings, including 13 strikeouts.
“He’s a gamer,” Griffin said about Stanton. “He was really staying on top of the ball today.”
Gunnar Swanson was credited with the loss for Seattle, also going 5 2-3 innings while giving up seven hits and four earned runs, but tallying an impressive 12 strikeouts.
At the plate, shortstop Jordan Washam and outfielder Alex Seifert led the top of the order with identical 3-for-4 days. Seifert tallied two runs as well.
Seifert opened up the scoring with a well-placed double to center field in the bottom of the first that brought Washam home from first base on a slide that just beat out the throw from second base. Just prior to the double, Washam reached base on a single.
Brian Ruhm brought Seifert in to score on a two-out left field single.
“We’ve struggled with hitting at times this year, so it’s good to see them hitting well,” Griffin said.
Ted Boeke added a grounder to shortstop with the bases loaded that scored Washam in the third inning, but the Studs closed the gap in the sixth inning with a long ball by Nate Backes that cleared the left field wall, also scoring Dylan LaVelle. The homer left the Oilers with a scant 3-2 lead.
However, the home team responded with some offense of their own. Jimmy Galusky — who started the day 0 for 2 on nothing but strikes — knocked out a two-out double in the bottom of the sixth that brought James Fowlkes across home plate, adding an insurance run. Lukas Hermanson then advanced to second base on two errors, which subsequently scored Galusky for a 5-2 Oilers lead.
Overall, both teams brought eight batters to the plate in the sixth inning and both managed to get themselves out of bases-loaded jams.
Oilers 6, Studs 2
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HR — Backes (1). CS — Savage (3), Washam (3), Ruhm (2). LOB — Studs 7, Oilers 8.