Mat-Su Miners catcher Blake Balsz forces out Cole Wilson of the Peninsula Oilers on Thursday, June 20, 2024, at Coral Seymour Memorial Park in Kenai, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Mat-Su Miners catcher Blake Balsz forces out Cole Wilson of the Peninsula Oilers on Thursday, June 20, 2024, at Coral Seymour Memorial Park in Kenai, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Thursday: Oilers take 3rd straight against Miners

The Peninsula Oilers defeated the Mat-Su Miners 2-0 on Thursday in Alaska Baseball League play at Coral Seymour Memorial Park.

The Oilers have now taken the first three games of the five-game set against the Miners. Including the exhibition games at the ABL Scouts Showcase, the Oilers have now won five of six after opening the season 1-3.

The series concludes with 6 p.m. games at Seymour Park on Friday and Saturday.

The Anchorage Bucs lead the league at 6-2, while the Oilers are 4-3. The Miners are 4-4, the Chugiak-Eagle River Chinooks are 4-5 and the Anchorage Glacier Pilots are 3-7.

Jacob Tabor and Colby Reynolds combined to shut the Miners out on two hits.

“We’re trying to pitch to a certain plan,” Oilers head coach Larry McCann said. “We’re trying to impose on them, let’s pitch this certain way to the hitters, and we’ll get fly balls, and we’ll get outs.

“They’re starting to buy into it.”

The Oilers had faced Mat-Su twice in league play on the season-opening road trip and lost 9-2 and 10-1. In the first three games at Seymour Park, the Miners have scored four runs.

Tabor started the 9-2 loss and gave up four runs in three innings. Thursday, he went 4 2-3 innings for the win, yielding two hits and four walks while striking out three.

In the first start, Tabor said he was a day from coming down with strep throat.

“My body was killing me,” he said. “So when I finally got back on the mound it was kind of a revenge tour. My body feels better.”

Tabor got the first two outs in the fifth, then ran out of gas in allowing a hit and two walks. He said he’s a reliever in college.

“Getting my body conditioned and arm conditioned to feel and make adjustments later in the games is the biggest thing for me,” Tabor said.

Reynolds came on and Christian Perez worked a 3-2 count before grounding to second to end by far Mat-Su’s biggest threat.

For Reynolds, pitching with the bases loaded is nothing new.

“Honestly, I put myself in those situations a lot,” Reynolds said. “I’ll load the bases up and you’ve just gotta go out there.

“It’s next pitch. You just gotta try to throw the heater by him and see what happens.”

After getting out of that scrape, Reynolds was dominant in recording the save, going 4 1-3 innings and not allowing a hit or walk while striking out four.

The Oilers defense did not commit an error.

“Obviously, I can’t do anything on the mound without having my defense behind me and being able to trust the rollover,” Tabor said. “I just throw to it and let the defense work. That helps the pitch count, for sure.”

Mat-Su also threw well. Noah Kendrick gave up two runs — one earned — on five hits in 3 1-3 innings. Nolan Murphy did not allow a run or hit in 2 2-3 innings, while Hayden Hattenbach pitched a scoreless two innings, allowing a hit.

“We threw well enough for us to win the ballgame, again,” Miners head coach Tyler LeBrun said.

McCann, in his fourth season as head coach and fifth year with the team, has said ABL games often come down to walks and errors, particularly at Seymour Park when the ball is not carrying.

That was the case Thursday.

In the second inning, Cole Wilson started the inning for the Oilers by getting hit by a pitch. Zakary Farris grounded to first, but Miners first baseman Nick Ferri threw wild to second. Farris eventually scored unearned on a Petey Soto sacrifice fly.

In the fourth, Max Roffwarg walked with one out, stole second and went to third on a Soto single. Kyle McDaniel then scored Roffwarg on a safety squeeze.

McCann likes the bunt, especially in the thick grass at Seymour Park.

“I tell our guys, ‘Don’t miss in the middle, get it down, and we should be all right,” he said.

The Oilers had runners reach base on a bunt single and an error on a bunt at key junctures Thursday.

“In general, I think we’ve given up five or six runners on base from bunts this week,” LeBrun said. “So we have not done a good job of fielding our position.”

Both Soto and Colin Robson finished 2 for 4 for the Oilers.

Mat-Su Miners pitcher Nolan Murphy delivers to the Peninsula Oilers on Thursday, June 20, 2024, at Coral Seymour Memorial Park in Kenai, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Mat-Su Miners pitcher Nolan Murphy delivers to the Peninsula Oilers on Thursday, June 20, 2024, at Coral Seymour Memorial Park in Kenai, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Peninsula Oilers pitcher Colby Reynolds and catcher Braden Smith shake hands after the Oilers defeated the Mat-Su Miners on Thursday, June 20, 2024, at Coral Seymour Memorial Park in Kenai, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Peninsula Oilers pitcher Colby Reynolds and catcher Braden Smith shake hands after the Oilers defeated the Mat-Su Miners on Thursday, June 20, 2024, at Coral Seymour Memorial Park in Kenai, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Peninsula Oilers pitcher Jacob Tabor delivers to the Mat-Su MIners on Thursday, June 20, 2024, at Coral Seymour Memorial Park in Kenai, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Peninsula Oilers pitcher Jacob Tabor delivers to the Mat-Su MIners on Thursday, June 20, 2024, at Coral Seymour Memorial Park in Kenai, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

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