The Peninsula Oilers’ hopes at winning the top seed in the Alaska Baseball League postseason took another blow Thursday with a 3-0 loss to the Anchorage Bucs at Mulcahy Stadium.
The Bucs held the Oilers (19-18) to just four base hits as Peninsula spiraled to their second straight loss, which left them in a tie with the Bucs (18-17) for third place in the ABL standings, 3 1-2 games behind the idle Mat-Su Miners (22-14).
The Oilers are now 3-4 on their current eight-game road trip, which wraps up today at 6 p.m. with a clash against the Miners at Hermon Brothers Field in Palmer. The Oilers finish their season with a six-game homestand against the Anchorage Glacier Pilots starting Tuesday.
Other than a 15-hit fireworks show on Tuesday against the Chinooks, the Oilers have found it hard to come by offense with no more than four hits in five of the seven road contests.
Thursday, the Oilers got the most production from the top of their lineup as leadoff batter Zack Zalesky went 2 for 3 with a walk and second hole hitter Ryan Novis was 1 for 4, including a double.
However, the only other hit came from nine-hole hitter Evan Berkey, who finished 1 for 3 on the night. Overall, Anchorage whiffed nine Oilers batters.
Bucs starting pitcher Daniel Rivero whiffed seven to earn the win on the mound with six innings of three-hit ball.
Alex Segal and Kyle Wullenweber held Peninsula scoreless the rest of the way. Segal pitched two frames of relief and gave up a hit with two strikeouts, and Wullenweber got the save with a perfect ninth inning.
Christian Winston gave up three runs (two earned) on seven hits for the Oilers, going six innings and whiffing four with one walk. Winston lowered his ERA slightly to 3.25 this summer.
Matt Amrhein and Erickson Fish finished the job with shutout relief. Amrhein gave up two hits in an inning of work, and Fish struck out one in a perfect frame.
The Bucs did all their damage in the fifth inning, starting with consecutive two-out singles by Demitri Colacchio and Willy Escala. Both scored on a two-run single by Jake Vieth, who reached second on a throwing error. Vieth then scored on a double by Troy Claunch.
Paul Kunst walked and Evan Berkey had a single to threaten in the top of the seventh, but Zalesky struck out to end the frame.
Zalesky and Novis both had base hits in the top of the third to put two men on with one out, but the Oilers failed to bring runs home with a Chad Bible ground-out and a Calvin Farris strikeout.