The bats awoke in a big way for the Peninsula Oilers Tuesday night, and it could be big come playoffs time.
Calvin Farris got out of an eighth-inning, bases-loaded jam and the Oilers busted out 15 hits to grab a 4-2 win over the Chugiak-Eagle River Chinooks in the fifth of an eight-game road trip.
The victory helped the Oilers (19-16) close the gap for the top spot to the Alaska Baseball League standings to two games behind the Mat-Su Miners. The Miners (21-14) lost Tuesday in a walkoff to the Anchorage Glacier Pilots.
The win also secured the season series 6-5 for the Oilers over the Chinooks, which could become a valuable tiebreaker for the final playoff spot at season’s end.
Oilers leadoff batter Zack Zalesky led the offense batting 3 for 4 with an RBI, while Paul Kunst hit 3 for 5 with one RBI. Farris, Michael Yourg and Ryan Koch each had two hits apiece.
Bryan Woo earned the win for the Oilers with a sparkling outing on the mound, giving up one run in four innings and whiffing five with three walks.
The Chinooks loaded the bases against Oilers reliever Bret Ricklefs with no outs in the bottom of the eighth, and Bailey Collins capitilized for the Chinooks with a sacrifice fly to cut the lead to one run.
After Seth Ballenger was intentionally walked, Farris entered to replace Ricklefs on the mound, and J. Paul Fullerton grounded into fielder’s choice for the second out and Anthony Forte grounded out to end the threat.
The Oilers got a run back in the ninth on a Ryan Novis grounder that allowed him to reach on error and Koch to score an insurance run.
Matt Amrhein, Justin Jaime, Ricklefs and Farris combined to give up just one run in the final five innings of relief. Amrhein pitched two scoreless frames of relief, Jaime had a shutout frame and Ricklefs had the one run in 1/3 of an inning before Farris finished the final 1 2/3 frames of scoreless, hitless baseball to close out the win.
After trailing early, the Oilers scored twice in the second inning to take the lead. Michael Yourg hit a two-out triple and then tied it on an RBI double by Tyler Duke. Zalesky put the Oilers ahead 2-1 on an RBI triple.
Kunst knocked in an insurance run in the third with a run-scoring double.
Chugiak took an early 1-0 lead on a passed ball by Woo.
The Peninsula road trip continues today at 6 p.m. against the Miners at Hermon Brothers Field in Palmer.