The Mat-Su Miners defeated the Peninsula Oilers 8-4 on Monday in Alaska Baseball League play at Coral Seymour Memorial Park in Kenai.
The Miners have now won four of five in the season-opening series for the Oilers. The Miners lead the league at 6-1 in the league and 8-1 overall, while the Oilers are now 1-4.
The series concludes with a 7 p.m. game tonight at Seymour Park.
The Oilers had a steep hill to climb Monday because they were all out of pitchers as they wait for some more arms to report to the team.
That meant Peninsula had to use exclusively position players on the mound.
Initially, that went well. Infielder Josh Congdon pitched the first three innings and gave up no runs on no hits. He even struck out the side in the second inning.
Meanwhile, the Oilers were clicking on offense early.
In the bottom of the first, Oliver Dunn led off with a single and moved to second on a grounder from Matthew Acosta. After Caleb Hicks popped out, John Thomas singled in Dunn for a 1-0 lead.
The Oilers continued to find success in the bottom of the second, as Kellen Strahm and Ryan Smith led off with singles.
Kipp Moore then hit a fielder’s choice grounder that put runners on first and third. Josh Congdon then hit a tapper back to the mound, and Strahm was retired at the plate.
But Moore would score on a throwing error by the catcher and Congdon would score on a passed ball to put the Oilers up 3-0.
In the fourth inning, outfielder Kellen Strahm took the hill and the Miners quickly pounced, scoring six runs to take control of the game. Strahm would give up seven hits and six runs — three earned — in two innings of work.
Also for the Oilers, infielder Caleb Hicks pitched three innings and gave up a run on two hits, while utility player Ryan Smith pitched an inning and gave up a run and a hit.
After the rocky start, Andrew Nardi settled in on the mound for the Miners to notch the victory. He went six innings and gave up three runs — two earned — on six hits.
Thaddeus Ward then pitched the final three innings and gave up a run and a hit.
That run came in the eighth inning, when Raymond Kerr led off with a single, went to second on a Strahm walk, went to third on a Ryan Smith grounder and scored on a Moore grounder.
Smith led the Oilers with two hits, while Quin Cotton, Austin Bull and Andy Thomas each had two hits for the Miners. Blake Benefield also had a home run for the Miners.