08/04/2020 10:48 AM
Northwest Indiana Oilmen (18-8)
at DuPage County Hounds (18-8)
Aug. 4, 2020 • 5 p.m. • Aurora, Ill. • Aurora Central Catholic HS
Broadcast: Oilmen Broadcasting Network (Facebook Live)
First place in the Midwest Collegiate League is back up for grabs. The Northwest Indiana Oilmen and DuPage County Hounds will clash on Tuesday evening in Aurora, with the two teams duking it out for the MCL regular season title with two weeks to play. The winner of Tuesday’s matchup will take over sole possession of the top spot for the time being.
Pitching Matchup – Northwest Indiana RHP Joe Rotkis (Morehead State / Granger, Ind.) vs. DuPage County LHP Seth Masters (Illinois-Springfield / Orland Park, Ill.)
- The Oilmen fell 4-2 at Southland on Monday, seeing their five-game winning streak come to a halt.
- Clay Thompson is up to a league-high 22 bases on balls this season. With 16 games remaining on the schedule, he has an outside chance to threaten Chris Baker’s single-season franchise record of 35 that was established in 2017. Baker played in 42 games, while Thompson has played in just 21 thus far.
- The Oilmen are dominating the league’s RBI leaderboard as eight players in the league have 18 RBIs or more and five of them play for the Oilmen. Angelo Cantelo holds the league lead with 23, while Kendal Ewell, Michael Machnic, Nick Anderson and Tyler Nelson are all part of a six-way tie for third in the MCL with 18 RBIs apiece.
- Conner Tomasic and Kendal Ewell are tied for the team lead with three home runs. Patrick Doran (5), Brad Miller (4) and Jackson Dvorak (4) are the only players in the MCL with more than three, while four others are involved in the six-way tie for fourth in the MCL.
- After starting the season 1-for-16 with nine strikeouts over his first five contests, Kendal Ewell has bounced back to hit .365 (23-for-63) over his last 17 games. His batting average climbed over the .300 mark for the first time all season as he upped his average to .304 through Monday.
- Before going hitless on Monday, Nick Anderson had notched three straight multi-hit games. He’s leaped into the team lead in batting average at .347.
- Angelo Cantelo extended his hitting streak to 12 on Monday and has hit safely in 22 of 23 games this season.
- Michael Machnic is also on a hot streak, going 8-for-20 (.400) over the last five games to boost his season average to .312. He’s driven in seven runs during that five-game span.
- Joe Rotkis is slated to make his sixth appearance and fourth start on Tuesday. He worked six innings while scattering six hits and allowing three runs (one earned) last week at Joliet. Rotkis owns a 1.73 ERA with four walks against 28 strikeouts in 26 innings this summer.
- Lefty Seth Masters (0-1, 1.33 ERA) will get the start for DuPage County on Tuesday. He has issued seven walks and struck out 21 over 20 1/3 innings spanning seven games, four starts.
- The two teams have split the four meetings so far this season with the Oilmen winning the first two and the Hounds winning each of the last two. The Hounds have a slim 40-38 lead in the all-time series that dates back to 2012.
- 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.