A return home after a rough road trip didn’t help the Peninsula Oilers’ fortunes Thursday in a 15-6 loss to the Anchorage Glacier Pilots at Coral Seymour Memorial Park.
Neither did Pilots slugger Matt Ottino, who bullied the Oilers by hitting a triple shy of the cycle, going 3 for 4 with four RBI’s, highlighted by a three-run go-ahead home run in the fifth inning that chased Oilers starter Jake Fenn.
The result left the Oilers with a third straight loss, dropping them to 7-13 overall, eight games behind the league-leading Anchorage Bucs (15-5). The Pilots improved to 10-9.
The crushing blow came in the top of the ninth for the Oilers, who trailed 8-6 entering the final frame before giving up seven runs, all with two outs.
Oilers head coach Kyle Brown vented his frustrations after the game by pointing out several crucial mistakes the team made in the field and on the base paths.
“It didn’t go our way today, tough luck, we’ll come out here tomorrow and try again,” Brown said. “That’s all I’m going to say.”
Oilers pitching coach Ryan Doran said the loss is not indicative of the talent the Oilers have, but team chemistry and lineup is still a work in progress. Doran said the final inning by reliever Giancarlo Servin was just a tough outing.
“At that point in the game, once you give up one, it doesn’t really matter how many you give up after that,” Doran said. “It’s going to be multiple base runners on, in order to score and come back.”
Ottino not only raked against the Oilers, he also came on to pitch the final inning to pick up what would have been a save opportunity. Pilots coach Jeff Pritchard said Ottino’s prowess is surprising, given his soft-spoken nature.
“He’s a very athletic, very special player,” Pritchard said. “He speaks softly and carries a big stick.”
Camden Vasquez led the Oilers from the dish, hitting 3 for 5 with an RBI, while Servin went 2 for 4 with two runs.
Fenn lasted into the fifth inning before being pulled after Ottino’s homer, giving up five runs on nine hits and one walk with two strikeouts.
Steven Ordorica gave up one run in two innings of relief, with one strikeout, and reliever Heath Olive struck out the first two Pilots batters of the ninth, but walked the next two to force a change with Servin, who was the designated hitter.
Servin walked the first batter he faced to load the bases, then gave up a two-run double to George Mendazano that pushed Anchorage’s lead to 10-6. Alex Baeza later knocked in two runs on a single and Malcom Tipler added a two-run double.
In the bottom of the ninth, all the Oilers could manage was a walk by Calvin Farris and a single by Drew Thorpe.
Early on, after falling behind 1-0 in the first inning, the Oilers responded emphatically in the second with four runs on RBI singles from Servin, Vasquez and McCord and a bases-loaded walk by Farris, putting Peninsula up 4-1.
The Pilots answered back in the top of the third on the blazing speed of leadoff man Malcolm Tipler, who reached on an infield single by evading the glove of Oilers’ first baseman Connor McCord, then swiped two bases before scoring on an RBI double lined to right by Ottino.
Tipler and Zach Morgan both singled to start the fifth, and Ottino cranked a three-run homer over the left field wall to put the Pilots ahead 5-4.
The Pilots tacked on runs in the sixth and eighth innings to push the lead to 8-4.
The Oilers were finally able to scratch away at the lead in the bottom of the eighth. Goodloe and Servin both singled to put two runners on, and Mackay came through with a two-run double that landed deep in center field to cut the lead to 8-6, although Mackay was caught trying to leg out a triple to end the frame.
The Oilers and Pilots return to action tonight at 7 p.m. at Seymour.