08/01/2020 9:06 AM
MCL Minutemen (8-16)
at Northwest Indiana Oilmen (17-7)
Aug. 1, 2020 • 6:10 p.m. • Whiting, Ind. • Oil City Stadium
Broadcast: Oilmen Broadcasting Network (Facebook Live)
The Northwest Indiana Oilmen will look to nail down their first five-game winning streak of the season on Saturday night at Oil City Stadium. The MCL Minutemen, the team’s most frequent foe this year, once again provide the opposition on Saturday night. The Oilmen enter the evening attempting to remain atop the Midwest Collegiate League standings as they hold a slim ½ game lead over DuPage County.
Pitching Matchup – Northwest Indiana RHP Jack Guzek (Iowa / Midlothian, Ill.) vs. Minutemen RHP Nic Vitiritti (Carthage College / Lansing, Ill.)
- The Oilmen can record a fifth straight victory on Saturday night, which would be the team’s longest winning streak of the season. The last time the Oilmen strung together five straight wins was the end of the 2018 campaign, when they won seven straight including four postseason games.
- The Oilmen are 10 games over .500 for the first time since the end of the 2017 season. As the Oilmen hit the 25-game mark on Saturday, they have a chance to set the franchise record for the most wins through 25 games. They can do no worse than match the best 25-game start in franchise history, which came with a 17-8 record in 2013.
- Mike Madura improved his career record to 7-0 over two seasons with the Oilmen and garnered his MCL-leading fourth victory on Friday night. He’s half way to the career wins record of 14 set by Christian Howell over his four-year tenure. Madura is one win away from becoming the first Oilmen pitcher to record five wins in a season since Howell and Sam Geraci in 2016. Only two pitchers have reached six victories in an Oilmen season – Danny Pobereyko with six in 2014 and Danny Britt with seven in 2012, which remains the single-season franchise record.
- Clay Thompson has now been hit by a pitch 10 times this season, becoming just the fourth player in franchise history to reach double figures in that category.
- The Oilmen are 6-1 against the Minutemen this season as the two teams will match up for the eighth time on Saturday night. The Oilmen have played no other team more than five times.
- Oilmen ace Jack Guzek gets the baseball on Saturday. He has an MCL-best 33 strikeouts and has a chance to threaten the Oilmen single-season record of 55 that has stood since Enrique Zamora established it in 2015. Guzek owns a 2-1 record and 3.22 ERA while issuing just three walks in 22 1/3 innings. He has shut out the Minutemen on a combined five hits over eight innings in his two starts against the squad this year. He had not allowed an earned run all season until his last outing, when he was tagged for eight earned on 12 hits in 4 1/3 innings at DuPage County on July 27.
- In shocking news, Jacob Frencl is not pitching against the Oilmen this time. Instead, it’s Nic Vitiritti, who has a 3.28 ERA over 24 2/3 innings with a 1-1 mark and 11 walks against 16 strikeouts. He allowed two unearned runs in a tough-luck loss while permitting just three hits and one walk in seven innings against the Oilmen on July 22.
- Ryan Howe of the Minutemen leads the league in RBIs with 19. Howe also has 16 walks, second in the league behind Clay Thompson’s 19.
- 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.