07/31/2019 10:01 AM -
-By Sam Oppenheim
Whiting, Ind - July 30, 2019 - For the Joliet Generals, the final week of the regular season is going to be treacherous. The Generals climbed one hurdle last night, defeating the Northwest Indiana Oilmen 8-7 in a wire-to-wire contest.
Right off the bat, Joliet jumped out in front thanks to wildness from Oilmen starter Brandon Laux. Laux walked five and hit a batter in the first, as the Generals put a big four on the scoreboard. Joliet had only one hit in the inning.
On the mound, Ethan Petric (Joliet JC / Elwood, Ill.) had his best start of the season, as he picked up his second win on the season. Petric completed five innings and gave up four runs, three of which were earned. But most importantly, he did not walk a single batter. In his last inning, Petric went three up, three down and picked up his fifth strikeout of the night.
”Fantastic job from Ethan,” Generals manager Matt Vitulli said. “He mixed his pitches well and hit his spots.”
Petric exited with a 7-4 lead. That margin grew by one after a solo homer by Devin Buckner (USC Upstate / Lexington, Ky.) in the top of the sixth. The run was the last time Joliet scored in the game.
Jordan Baker (South Suburban CC / South Holland, Ill.) entered in the sixth. After a scoreless inning, Baker walked the first three NWI batters of the seventh to load the bases with nobody out. He then struck out back-to-back hitters before walking in a run. With the bases still loaded, Baker got another strikeout to end the inning.
It was another rough start in the eighth with two walks. That was the final batter of a crazy stretch of 13 straight Oilmen who came to the plate and did not put the ball in play. Two runs scored for Northwest Indiana in the frame to make it 8-7 heading into the final inning.
Baker completed his three innings of work with an unusual stat line. He gave up three runs on two hits, walked eight and struck out six all on 106 pitches.
“That just shows how much of a competitor Jordan is,” Vitulli said. “He definitely grinded it out and beared down.”
In the ninth, Anthony Jerez (Robert Morris - Illinois / Brooklyn, N.Y.) came in for a save situation. After recording an out, Jerez allowed a single and then walked a batter. Jerez proceeded to strike out the next two batters to get the save, and most importantly, close out the Generals win.
However, Joliet, who sits at 13-15, has little margin for error down the homestretch. The Generals sit two games back of the Oilmen and the DuPage County Hounds, who are tied for third.
Joliet has chance to move within one game of fourth as they have a rematch with Northwest Indiana. First pitch is at 7:10 p.m. from Oil City Stadium. The game will be broadcasted on the Northwest Indiana Oilmen Broadcasting Network.