The Peninsula Oilers went down in one of their biggest losses in three years Tuesday night at Hermon Brothers Field in Palmer, the first of a seven-game road trip.
The Oilers lost their fourth straight with a 17-1 shellacking by the Mat-Su Miners, dropping the Oilers to 11-8 overall and more importantly out of first place in the Alaska Baseball League standings. The Miners took over the top spot at 11-7 after winning their fourth straight.
The road trip continues tonight for the Oilers with a 7 p.m. game against the Chugiak/Eagle River Chinooks. The Oilers went 2-3 against the Chinooks at home last week.
The last time the Oilers gave up 17 runs in a nine-inning contest was July 15, 2015, when Peninsula lost by an identical score of 17-1 to — guess who? — the Mat-Su Miners.
Earlier in this month, the Oilers beat the Miners in a pair of road contests, and the local nine have boasted the top pitching rotation in the league this summer, but Tuesday painted a much different story as Mat-Su out-hit the Oilers 17 to 4.
The Miners poured it on early with 12 runs in the bottom of the first inning after the Oilers had taken a 1-0 lead.
Here is how the early fireworks went down. The Oilers loaded the bases in the top of the first with three straight singles from Ryan Novis, Ryan Koch and Grant Wood, which paid off with a hit-by-pitch to Evan Berkey that forced a run in for a 1-0 Oilers lead.
In the bottom of the inning, the Miners hit back hard. A Spencer Henson two-run single put the Miners ahead 2-1, then Aaron Walters and Drew Swift added runs on singles and a bases-loaded walk to Brayden Merrit made it 5-1 Miners.
The big hit came off the bat of Kona Quiggle, who crushed a pitch over the wall for a grand slam, putting Mat-Su up 9-1.
The offense didn’t stop there. Austin Pinorini hit a solo homer and Caleb Van Blake had a two-run homer that amounted to three home runs in a span of five at-bats.
The inning finally ended with a strikeout of Hunter Jump, after 15 batters had taken a turn at the plate.
The man taking the brunt of the damage was Oilers starter Bryan Woo, who entered the night with a tidy 1.00 ERA in ABL play this summer, but left with an inflated 8.67 after giving up eight runs on five hits and three walks. Woo only recorded one out and faced nine batters before being pulled.
Pinorini later added three more runs on a bases-clearing double in the bottom of the second to give Mat-Su a 15-1 lead and add to his total of four RBIs. Quiggle also finished with four RBIs.
The blowout allowed the Oilers the try some position players on the mound, as Grant Wood, Paul Kunst and Tyler Duke each got an inning of relief. Remarkably, the three players combined to toss three shutout frames with just one base hit.
The Oilers relief pitching also included appearances by Justin Jaime, Noah Owen, Austin Merrill, Andrew Lopez and Brian Leonhardt.