Updated: August 19, 2013 2:30PM
WHITING — One late-inning jam was escapable for the NWI Oilmen bullpen. The second jam? That was one too many.
After one Oilmen reliever — Aveeno Nasiloski — survived a strong threat from the Southland Vikings in the eighth inning, Matt Pobereyko was tagged for three Southland runs in the ninth, giving the Vikings a 6-4 win.
“We’ve all been there as closers,” said Oilmen manager Justin Huisman, who spent several years as a closer in his pitching career. “Sometimes you just don’t have it. He wasn’t getting strikes tonight with any of his pitches. It was just one of those nights, but hopefully he can bounce back right away.”
Pobereyko entered the game in the ninth inning with the Oilmen ahead 4-3 and quickly retired the first batter. But three straight singles loaded the bases against Pobereyko, who leads the Oilmen bullpen with three saves this season. It only got worse when he threw two consecutive wild pitches, scoring two runs and giving Southland a 5-4 lead.
Dan Potempa then lifted a sacrifice fly to right field, stretching the Vikings lead to 6-4.
The Oilmen threatened in the ninth, but stranded runners on second and third base to end the game—a common theme in the later innings.
Said Huisman: “Usually, when you have a low scoring ballgame, there are typically a lot of runners left on base somewhere.”
After eight innings of play, it appeared the Oilmen were on their way to another one of their trademark comeback victories.
First, Nasiloski faced runners on second and third with just one out in the top half of the frame before escaping without allowing any runs.
In the bottom half of the inning, No. 9 hitter Joe Houlihan drew a two-out walk to keep the inning alive. Wasting little time, he stole second, and then he took third base on a wild pitch.
Anthony Bova then gave the Oilmen a brief 4-3 lead as he legged out an infield single up the middle, scoring Houlihan from third.