The current eight-game road trip has not gone to plan for the Peninsula Oilers, who capped it with a 7-5 loss to the league-leading Mat-Su Miners Friday at Hermon Brothers Field in Palmer.
The third consecutive loss dropped the Oilers (19-19) further behind in the race for the top spot, 4 1/2 games behind the Miners (23-14) in the Alaska Baseball League standings. The Anchorage Bucs (19-17) won Friday to remain 3 1/2 behind the Miners in second.
The loss also wrapped up the season series against the Miners at 4-7 this summer, after starting 2-0 against the two-time defending ABL champs.
The Oilers return home Tuesday for a six-game homestand against the Anchorage Glacier Pilots to wrap up the regular season. The top four in the ABL qualify for the postseason, with the No. 1 seed playing the No. 4 seed and the No. 2 and 3 seeds squaring off in best-of-three series.
The recent slump left the Oilers at .500 for the first time since game two of the season on June 8. Their record sat as high as 11-4 on June 21, but the team has gone 8-15 since.
Part of the drop in winning has come due to a sluggish offense, one that has averaged just 2.25 runs over the eight-game road series.
Friday in Palmer, the Miners jumped on the Oilers quickly, scoring three runs in the first inning and grabbing a 5-0 lead after two. Kona Quiggle got things going with an RBI double, and Aaron Walters followed him with a run-scoring single and Danny Wright added a run on a sac fly.
Caleb Van Blake reached base in the bottom of the second on a hit-by-pitch, then moved to third on a Henson double and scored on an infield error by Oilers shortstop Bryce Begell on a grounder by Nick Brooks. Walters singled in a run later.
The Oilers finally got on the board in the third with an RBI double by Zack Zalesky, but the Miners got it back with a run in the bottom of the frame.
The Oilers made strides by cutting the lead to 6-4 in the top of the fifth, starting with an RBI single by Zalesky, who finished 2 for 3 with two RBIs. Begell and Grant Wood also finished with two hits each.
Chad Bible and Wood continued the rally with a pair of run-scoring singles, but Ryan Koch ended the rally by grounding into a double play.
Michael Yourg notched another Oilers run in the seventh on an RBI single, but that would be the final tally.
Tevin Murray took the loss on the mound with three innings and six runs (four earned) given up. Murray, an incoming Rutgers junior, whiffed three but allowed four walks and six hits to drop his ERA to 4.55 this summer.
Andrew Lopez gave up a run on two hits in two frames of relief, and Tre Brown and Calvin Farris finished the job with three combined innings of scoreless relief.