Anchorage Bucs third baseman Dimitri Colacchio (left) fields a groundball while the Oilers’ Ryan Koch sprints to third Friday evening at Coral Seymour Memorial Ballpark in Kenai. (Photo by Joey Klecka/Peninsula Clarion)

Anchorage Bucs third baseman Dimitri Colacchio (left) fields a groundball while the Oilers’ Ryan Koch sprints to third Friday evening at Coral Seymour Memorial Ballpark in Kenai. (Photo by Joey Klecka/Peninsula Clarion)

Oilers lose Friday, win Saturday

As good as the Peninsula Oilers looked in Thursday’s Alaska Baseball League season opener, things weren’t as rosy in Game 2 of the season Friday night at Coral Seymour Memorial Park in Kenai as the Anchorage Bucs cruised to an 8-2 win.

But the Oilers bounced right back Saturday with a come-from-behind, 5-2 victory over the Bucs.

The Oilers move to 2-1 overall and in the league, while the Bucs fall to 1-2. The teams continue their season-opening series with a 2 p.m. doubleheader today.

Saturday, the Oilers entered the bottom of the eighth inning trailing 1-0, but scored five decisive times.

Evan Berkey put the Oilers up 2-1 in the inning when he singled to score Ryan Novis and Michael Young. Later, Ryan Koch had a bases-loaded single to score Paul Kunst and Matthew Kirk and make it 4-1. Grant Wood finished the rally by grounding out to score Tyler Duke.

In the top of the ninth, the Bucs loaded the bases with two outs and had already scored a run to cut the gap to 5-2 when Bret Ricklefs came in to strike out JC Correa and end the game.

Friday, the Oilers succumbed to the Bucs in a sloppy game that saw the local nine commit four errors, a day after winning a crisp defensive game.

The Oilers twice left the bags loaded, including a big missed opportunity to make up the deficit in the bottom of the eighth when they loaded the bases with two outs, and a smoking line drive to center by Ryan Novis was caught to end the threat.

“We had two-out hits and had our opportunities, but we couldn’t finish it,” said Oilers head coach Kyle Brown. “The guys were chasing the breaking ball all day.”

Ryan Koch, who went 2 for 4, had one of the game’s biggest knocks in the sixth inning with a run-scoring double that landed on the warning track. Koch said Peninsula batters were struggling with the sliders of starter Preston Price and reliever Preston Snavely. The benders had batters reaching for a hit when they should’ve taken a walk.

“We just couldn’t string multiple hits together when the pitching was all over the zone,” Koch said. “It was a recipe for disaster.”

Price and Snavely formed a tough duo on the mound, combining to give up just the two runs in eight frames of six-hit ball. Price and Snavely tossed four innings apiece, and John Altman closed out the ninth with a trouble-free appearance.

Brown said after a successful first day of the summer, he felt the Oilers came up short Friday trying to duplicate the good vibes, which forced situations, such as when reliever Andrew Lopez forced in two Bucs insurance runs on consecutive bases-loaded walks in the seventh inning after the Oilers had cut the gap to two.

“For me, it looked like (Lopez) was scared to give up the double, the big hit,” Brown said. “We try to teach them to always stay aggressive and make them earn it. That was the glaring difference from last night.”

Chapman University sophomore Austin Merrill gave up three runs on six hits in four innings on the mound, and commanded the strike zone with 38 strikes on 53 total pitches with no walks.

Calvin Farris gave up an unearned run on two hits in relief and had a strikeout, while Lopez finished the night with four walks in the 37-pitch inning of work. Sitka product Erickson Fish compiled two frames of relief and gave up two runs on three hits and two walks.

Matthew Kirk, Paul Kunst, Michael Yourg and Jake Darrow each had one hit apiece, and Grant Wood drew two walks.

Anchorage took a 2-0 lead in the third when Tanner Tredaway and Dane Stankiewicz knocked out consecutive two-out singles to score a run each.

The Oilers loaded the bases with two outs — all on base hits — in the bottom half, but couldn’t score after Paul Kunst grounded a ball right to first base.

The Bucs scored again in the fourth on an RBI ground-out by Parker Johnson, and had a man on third but the Oilers ended the threat with a swift double play when Escala popped out to center field and the throw back home caught out Demitri Colacchio.

In the Anchorage half of the sixth, Paul Kunst made a highlight diving stop from shortstop to throw Anchorage’s Jose Ruiz out on a grounder, but two batters later, a line drive single by Colacchio was relayed back home, where Koch couldn’t hang onto the ball to catch Logan Ehnes on a sure out at the plate, pushing the lead to 4-0.

The Oilers finally broke through in the bottom of the sixth when Koch cranked an RBI double to the warning track in left field. Evan Berkey then brought in another run on a double-play grounder to cut the lead to 4-2.

Anchorage loaded the bases with no outs in the seventh on an error and two walks by Peninsula reliever Andrew Lopez, and Tanner Tredaway struck out and Stankiewicz popped out to shallow right field to get to two outs.

However, Jose Ruiz and Logan Ehnes drew back-to-back walks to force in two runs for a 6-2 lead. Colacchio struck out to end the inning.

Anchorage tacked on another run in the top of the eighth with an RBI bloop double by J.C. Correa, but it could’ve been worse. Brennan Breaux drew a walk to load the bases with no outs, and while another run came in on a wild pitch by Fish, the Oilers turned a double play when Tredaway popped out to center field and Peninsula outfielder Tyler Duke threw out Correa at the plate.

Peninsula Oilers infielder Jake Darrow keeps an eye on teammate Tyler Duke Friday evening against the Anchorage Bucs at Coral Seymour Memorial Ballpark in Kenai. (Photo by Joey Klecka/Peninsula Clarion)

Peninsula Oilers infielder Jake Darrow keeps an eye on teammate Tyler Duke Friday evening against the Anchorage Bucs at Coral Seymour Memorial Ballpark in Kenai. (Photo by Joey Klecka/Peninsula Clarion)

Peninsula Oilers starter Austin Merrill offers up a pitch Friday evening to an Anchorage Bucs batter at Coral Seymour Memorial Ballpark in Kenai. (Photo by Joey Klecka/Peninsula Clarion)

Peninsula Oilers starter Austin Merrill offers up a pitch Friday evening to an Anchorage Bucs batter at Coral Seymour Memorial Ballpark in Kenai. (Photo by Joey Klecka/Peninsula Clarion)

Peninsula Oilers batter Tyler Duke holds on a pitch against Anchorage Bucs starter Preston Price, Friday evening at Coral Seymour Memorial Ballpark in Kenai. (Photo by Joey Klecka/Peninsula Clarion)

Peninsula Oilers batter Tyler Duke holds on a pitch against Anchorage Bucs starter Preston Price, Friday evening at Coral Seymour Memorial Ballpark in Kenai. (Photo by Joey Klecka/Peninsula Clarion)

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