07/07/2020 6:10 PM
Northwest Indiana Oilmen (3-0)
at Southland Vikings (4-0)
July 8, 2020 • 5 p.m. • Hammond, Ind. • Dowling Park
Broadcast: Oilmen Broadcasting Network (Facebook Live)
The Northwest Indiana Oilmen will hit the road for the first time this season as they compete in a battle of unbeaten teams on Wednesday evening at Dowling Park. NWI has a chance to set a franchise record for consecutive victories to start a season by knocking off the Vikings in the showdown for first place in the Midwest Collegiate League standings.
Pitching Matchup – Northwest Indiana RHP Costa Sirounis (Indiana University / Munster, Ind.) vs. Southland RHP Jaime Prieto (Kishwaukee / Chicago, Ill.)
- The Oilmen have started the season with three consecutive victories, the first time the squad has achieved that feat since the 2015 campaign. That season also featured a first-year manager, as Adam Enright debuted with three straight wins, an accomplishment matched by Chris Cunningham this season. The Oilmen will look to improve to 4-0 for the first time in team history on Wednesday.
- Southland is also off to an unblemished start, owning victories in all four games thus far. The Vikings have already set the franchise record for the most consecutive victories to start a season.
- This will mark the first time Chris Cunningham has managed against his former team. The current Oilmen skipper was at the helm for the Vikings from 2011-2014.
- Oilmen probable pitcher Costa Sirounis will make his first appearance on the mound this summer. He is a two-way player and has appeared in one game as a position player, going 0-for-3 with two walks.
- The Oilmen outscored the Generals 25-4 over the two games on Sunday and Monday, winning 14-4 on Sunday and 11-0 on Monday. The last time the Oilmen won consecutive games both by 10 runs or more was July 25-26, 2018, a 19-6 win over Joliet followed by a 16-6 victory over DuPage County.
- Monday’s 11-0 win marked the first time the Oilmen shut out the opposition since July 9 of last season, a 12-0 win over Bloomington.
- Nick Anderson leads the Oilmen with a .625 batting average (5-for-8) through two games, while Angelo Cantelo also has five hits on the young year, his coming over three appearances.
- The Oilmen pitching staff has struck out 33 in 27 innings, led by Joe Rotkis with six.
- 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.
- Oilmen legend Matt Pobereyko is serving as the team’s pitching coach this season. He racked up an MCL-record 18 career saves in 2013 and 2014 including a single-season MCL record 13 in his final campaign with the Oilmen. Pobereyko is an active professional pitcher and has reached as high as Triple-A.
- 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.