Oilers, Bucs split doubleheader

Both the Peninsula Oilers and the Anchorage Bucs have both seen their share of struggles in recent weeks, so both squads looked pretty reluctant to leave the park Tuesday at Coral Seymour Memorial Park with a doubleheader split.

The Oilers took the first game 1-0 and lost the second 5-3, and as the scores indicated, both games were significantly different.

“Our defense has been playing really well,” said Oilers coach Kyle Richardson. “I don’t remember us playing this well on defense, and of course we make some mistakes, like every team, but we’ve been picking up the slack here.”

With the Alaska Goldpanners of Fairbanks running wild on a current nine-game win streak, the Bucs and the Oilers need every win they can get to keep up. Currently, the Panners lead the Alaska Baseball League American League with a 13-5 record, one game ahead of the Bucs and seven ahead of the Oilers.

“Anything can happen,” Richardson said. “Fairbanks won 10 of 11, and who’s to say they can’t lose 10 of 11?”

Oilers pitcher Jimmy Nesselt made sure to put the first game away early, going all seven innings in a tidy 1 hour, 26 minutes. He threw the shutout with two hits, no walks and three strikeouts to improve his starting record to 3-2 and his ERA to 3.93.

“That was dominant,” Richardson said. “I’ve never seen a guy dominate like that in this league. That was one of the most impressive starts I’ve seen in a long time.”

Richardson said pitching coach Brian Baisch talked to Nesselt before the game about mixing up his fastball location high and down low, adding that his expertise on pitching on a vertical plane has been a big difference.

“My changeup worked well today,” Nesselt said. “I kept them off-balance enough with my changeup to make the fastball look a lot harder and more effective.”

Nesselt made sure to give catcher Nick Thurman the deserved credit for calling his pitches.

“I don’t think catchers get enough love from their pitchers when they do well, and he was great today,” Nesselt said. “He was calling a great game and I was pretty much agreeing with everything he was saying. We had some great chemistry together.”

The lone run of the game came in the bottom of the fourth. After three straight singles from Jordan Sanford, Alex Rubanowitz and Mylz Jones loaded the bases, Ethan McGill grounded into a double play and brought Sanford home.

In the top of the seventh, Nesselt retired all three batters quickly and capped the game with a swinging strikeout of Dylan Butler, his second of the day.

Bucs pitcher Evan Manarino (1-2) wasn’t too shabby on the hill either. Manarino gave up one run on five hits but had nine strikeouts in six innings of work.

“He had a great game, the problem was we had two base hits go through the infield and then a bunt from Mylz (Jones) over there and not one person laid out for the ball,” said Bucs coach Tony Cappuccilli. “We talked about that after the game, we gotta play harder.”

The second game started a bit messier for the Oilers, as a run was given up by starting pitcher Dan Kolodin in the top of the first when Cade Reiten tagged home on a wild pitch to give the Bucs their first run of the day. Kolodin went the first five innings with two earned runs on six hits, one walk and four strikeouts.

After a big fifth inning that saw the Oilers get out of a bases-loaded jam in the top of the inning, then grab a 3-1 lead in the bottom of the frame on two singles from Sanford and Rubanowitz, a crucial error was made in the top of the sixth.

With two outs and two men on base, Anchorage’s No. 8 batter, Chane Lynch, belted out a single, bringing Mark Krueger and Evan Powell home to tie things up at three runs apiece. Richardson took the blame for the decision to not intentionally walk Lynch.

“We should’ve walked Lynch to pitch to West. Bottom line,” Richardson said. “I made a mistake of letting us throw to a better hitter with an open base, we should’ve walked Lynch and pitched to West. That’s what beat us.

“Hindsight’s 20-20, and nine times out of 10, I walk that guy and hit with an open bag and pitch to the nine-hole hitter every time.”

The go-ahead run came on a wild pitch by Icezack Flemming in the top of the seventh that brought Dylan Butler in to score.

Sanford batted 2 for 3 with an RBI to lead the Oilers.

The two teams will play the rubber match of the five-game series today 7 p.m. at Seymour Park.

Tuesday

Oilers 1, Bucs 0, 1st game

Bucs AB R H BI Oilers AB R H BI

Cpld ss 3 0 1 0 Sndl cf 3 0 0 0

Retn 3b 3 0 0 0 Snfd dh 3 1 1 0

Crly cf 3 0 0 0 Rbwt 3b 3 0 1 0

Btlr rf 3 0 0 0 Jnes ss 3 0 1 0

Krgr dh 2 0 0 0 McGl 1b 2 0 0 0

Pwll c 2 0 1 0 Thrm c 2 0 0 0

Plmr 2b 2 0 0 0 Hrnz 2b 2 0 0 0

Lnch 1b 2 0 0 0 Rose rf 2 0 0 0

Yngd lf 2 0 0 0 Rgwk lf 2 0 2 0

Totals 22 0 2 0 Totals 22 1 5 0

Bucs 000 000 0 — 0

Oilers 000 100 x — 1

CS — Powell. LOB — Bucs 1, Oilers 3.

IP H R ER BB SO

Bucs

Manarino, L 6.0 5 1 1 0 9

Oilers

Nesselt, W 7.0 2 0 0 0 3

P-S — Manarino 92-60, Nesselt 92-62. T — 1:26.

Bucs 5, Oilers 3, 2nd game

Bucs AB R H BI Oilers AB R H BI

Btlr rf 4 1 2 0 Sdln cf 3 1 0 0

Rtn ss 2 1 1 0 Snfd rf 3 0 2 1

Cwly cf 3 1 0 0 Rbwz 3b 3 0 1 1

Krgr dh 4 1 1 0 Jnes ss 3 1 1 0

Pwll 3b 3 1 1 0 McGl dh 3 0 1 0

Plmr lf 2 0 1 1 Mnzc 2 0 0 0

Cpld 2b 4 0 0 0 Zrte 1b 2 0 1 1

Lnch 1b 3 0 2 2 Hndz 2b 3 0 1 0

West c 3 0 1 0 Rgsi lf 2 1 0 0

Totals 28 5 9 3 Totals 24 3 7 3

Bucs 100 002 2 —5

Oilers 010 020 0 —3

2B — West, Jones, Zarate. SF — Zarate. SH — Reiten, Palmer. SB — Powell, Sanford. CS — Hernandez. LOB — Bucs 8, Oilers 4. E — Jones. DP — Bucs 1.

IP H R ER BB SO

Bucs

Rogina 5 6 3 3 3 5

Brija, W 1 0 0 0 0 2

Stewart, S 1 1 0 0 0 0

Oilers

Kolodin 5 6 3 2 1 4

Flemming, L 2 3 2 2 2 3

WP — Kolodin, Flemming. PB — West, Munoz. HBP — by Kolodin (Reiten). P-S — Rogina 91-55, Brija 19-11, Stewart 11-7, Kolodin 58-38, Flemming 46-24. T — 2:03

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