07/04/2020 11:33 PM
Joliet Generals (0-1)
at Northwest Indiana Oilmen (1-0)
July 5, 2020 • 4:10 p.m. • Whiting, Ind. • Oil City Stadium
Broadcast: Oilmen Broadcasting Network (Facebook Live)
The Northwest Indiana Oilmen will look to move to 2-0 as they welcome the Joliet Generals to Oil City Stadium for a Sunday afternoon affair to close out the holiday weekend. This marks the second game of a three-game season-opening homestand.
Sunday’s game will be open to fans at a limited capacity of 250. Fans are strongly encouraged to wear facial coverings to the game and numerous other COVID-19 safety protocols will be in place. Fans are encouraged to print their tickets ahead of time by visiting NWIOilmen.com.
Pitching Matchup – Northwest Indiana LHP Connor Oliver (Wichita State [Wabash Valley] / Oak Forest, Ill. / Oak Forest) vs. Joliet RHP Jacob Newman (Rutgers / Glenview, Ill. / Glenbrook South)
- Angelo Cantelo had two hits including a double and all five Oilmen pitchers were effective in a 5-3 victory over the MCL Minutemen on Saturday night at Oil City Stadium. The Oilmen pitchers combined for 12 strikeouts, including four from starter Jack Guzek, who tossed three scoreless innings and yielded just one hit. Isaiah Coupet was the winning pitcher, and Kyle Salley nailed down the save.
- With the win on Saturday over the Minutemen, the Oilmen snapped a four-game losing streak on the Fourth of July and improved to 1-4 all-time on Independence Day.
- The victory on Saturday allowed the Oilmen to improve to 4-5 all-time in both season openers and home openers.
- First-year manager Chris Cunningham joined Adam Enright as the two Oilmen managers who have been victorious in their debuts.
- Connor Oliver is slated to begin his second season with the Oilmen on Sunday. The southpaw tossed 15 2/3 innings and posted a 6.32 ERA while issuing 13 walks and striking out 17 a summer ago.
- A 2020 spring Academic All-Big Ten honoree, Joliet starter Jacob Newman was a redshirt freshman at Rutgers this spring and did not allow an earned run in two games.
- The Oilmen will attempt to start the season with back-to-back wins for just the third time in franchise history and the first since 2015, when the squad won the first three games of Adam Enright’s managerial tenure.
- The Generals enter Sunday’s game seeking their first win of the season after an 8-5 loss to DuPage County on Opening Day. Former Oilmen outfielder Amir Wright started his Generals’ career in style, as the Griffith product collected five hits in the defeat.
- Wright is part of a quartet of Northwest Indiana natives on the Joliet roster that also includes his younger brother Anson Wright. Amir is a 2016 Griffith graduate, while Anson graduated from Griffith in 2019. The other Northwest Indiana natives are both left-handed pitchers – Nick Hamilton (Munster ’19) and Noah Mathias (LaPorte ‘18), the latter of whom pitched for the Crestwood Panthers last season.
- Amir Wright isn’t the only former Oilman on the Generals’ roster, as pitchers Andrew Hancock and Anthony Hernandez both pitched for NWI previously. Hernandez logged 21 innings with the Oilmen over 16 games during the 2019 season, posting a 3.86 ERA, while Hancock worked 11 1/3 innings over four games back in 2018.
- Wright was a member of the MCL All-League team after posting a slash line of .352/.484/.488 with NWI in 2017. He returned to the Oilmen for a nine-game stint in 2018 and hit .441. The Generals are Wright’s third MCL team, as he hit .352 with the Southland Vikings in 2016.
- The Oilmen own a 39-15 lead in the all-time series with Joliet, including games when the team competed as the Joliet Admirals. The Oilmen won four of the six meetings a year ago.
- When they appear in their first games this season, Tommy Farrell and Max Franklin will become the third and fourth players in team history to appear in four different seasons. That elite group currently consists of catcher Zack Jones (2014-2017) and pitcher Christian Howell (2015-2018).
- The 2020 Oilmen roster features representatives from numerous Division-I institutions including the following conferences: Big 10, American, Ohio Valley Conference, Missouri Valley Conference, Horizon League, Mid-American Conference, Summit League and the ACC.
- The Big Ten is well represented on this year’s roster, with players from five different conference members on the squad – Indiana, Purdue, Ohio State, Michigan and Iowa.
- This marks the Oilmen’s first season under the direction of Chris Cunningham, who is the fourth manager in team history. Cunningham is no stranger to the MCL, as the former professional ballplayer in the Tampa Bay Rays organization managed the Southland Vikings from 2011-2014. In his final two seasons, the Vikings won back-to-back MCL championships.
- As usual, the Oilmen are loaded with local talent. Three Oilmen players graduated from Andrean High School, one from Highland, three from Griffith, one from Valparaiso, two from Munster and two from Lake Central. Expanding to Illinois high schools, two Oilmen competed at Brother Rice, one at Oak Forest, one at Marist, one at Marian Catholic, three at Homewood-Flossmoor, one at Carl Sandburg, one at St. Rita and one at St. Laurence.