08/09/2020 11:03 AM
Southland Vikings (17-15)
at Northwest Indiana Oilmen (21-10)
Aug. 9, 2020 • 4:10 p.m. • Whiting, Ind. • Oil City Stadium
Broadcast: Oilmen Broadcasting Network (Facebook Live)
The final Sunday of the regular season is upon us as the Northwest Indiana Oilmen attempt to bounce back from Saturday’s blemish against the MCL Minutemen that saw the pitching staff issue 16 walks. Southland comes to town for a matinee at Oil City Stadium, where the Oilmen have walked off the last three times they’ve hosted the Vikings.
Pitching Matchup – RHP Joe Rotkis (Morehead State / Granger, Ind.) vs. RHP Jacob Kampf (Heartland CC / Lockport, Ill.)
- The biggest storyline of the day is clear: If the Oilmen trail entering the bottom of the ninth inning on Sunday afternoon, don’t go anywhere. They’ve walked off with victories over the Southland Vikings in each of the three Oil City Stadium meetings this season. The Oilmen have walked off with wins four times this season, three coming against Southland.
- The home team has won all five meetings between the two teams this year. The final two matchups will take place on Sunday and Monday, with the Oilmen hoping to nail down the season series win with one more victory.
- The Oilmen own a 44-41 lead in the all-time series with Southland, which dates back to the first home game in Oilmen history on June 3, 2012.
- The Oilmen enter the day with a one-game lead over DuPage County for first place in the MCL standings. The Hounds have the day off, so the Oilmen will either increase their lead to 1 ½ games or see their edge slip to ½ game depending upon Sunday’s outcome.
- Tyler Nelson tied a season high with four hits on Saturday against the Minutemen. The eighth day of each month has been good to Nelson, who previously recorded four knocks on July 8 at Southland. On Saturday, he also matched a season high with three RBIs, a mark he’d reached in two prior instances.
- Joe Rotkis enters this game with a 2.25 ERA and 0-2 record over six games, four starts. He has walked just five and notched 33 strikeouts in 32 innings, one of five Oilmen pitchers with 30 strikeouts or more this season. Rotkis will oppose the Vikings for the first time this summer.
- The Oilmen will once again face off with Jacob Kampf, who received no decision while allowing two runs on five hits, five walks and six strikeouts over five innings on Monday, Aug. 3. He allowed two runs before notching an out, but then worked shutout ball the rest of the way. For the season, Kampf has a 5.19 ERA over 17 1/3 innings spanning six outings.
- The Vikings started 6-0, but are 11-15 since. They are coming off a 9-6, extra-inning win over Crestwood on Saturday.
- 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.