In a game that began as a pitcher’s duel through the first four innings, quickly turned into a late inning scoring frenzy with runs being scored by both respective teams from the fifth inning until the final out of the game.
A chilly night in Whiting, IN was the stage for last night’s game between the Southland Vikings and the Northwest Indiana Oilmen at Oil City Stadium. The weather may have been brisk for a summer baseball game, but it was the duo of southpaws that affected the game early on for both sides.
After giving up one run each in the first inning, pitchers Aaron Hauge and Jimmy McNamara settled in on the mound, posting zeros on the scoreboard for three straight innings, four for Hauge.
The Lefties combined for 13 strikeouts in their eleven combined innings pitched. Hauge won the strikeout battle with eight on the night, as McNamara topped him in innings pitched with six.
In Hauge’s first work since redshirting this season for the Southern Illinois University Salukis, he found his groove early by way of pumping fastballs over the plate for strikes while keeping the Oilmen off balance with a wicked knuckle curveball that he used to ring up most of his strikeout victims throughout the game.
After the game Hauge said it felt good to finally get back out there and pitch versus an opposing team.
“It was tough redshirting this season because pitching is what I love to do most in life. The only games I was able to throw in were inter-squad exhibitions against my own team, so it was nice to finally let loose against some unfamiliar competition,” Hauge said.
McNamara saw a lot of the same results as Hauge, but because of some miscues by his fielders behind him he left the game trailing 3-1 in the sixth inning.
After the two starters left the game, the scoring started to heat up as both batting lineups were pleased to see Hauge and McNamara leave the game.
The Oilmen tacked on one in the 6th and two in the 7th to regain the lead by a score of 4-3.
In the top half of the 8th inning the Vikings struck back with two runs thanks in large part to an RBI double to right field off the bat of Viking third baseman John Livingston, scoring designated hitter Dan Potempa.
Southland’s lead was short-lived though, as the Oilmen scored three runs off of relief pitcher Wil Polley to take the lead.
That was all the insurance the Oilmen would need, winning the ballgame by a score of 7-6 after closer Scott Jerge closed the door on Southland allowing one run before earning the save.
Up next for the Vikings (2-1) will be a road game against the Michigan City Lakers (1-1) in Michigan City starting at 5:30 p.m.