06/11/2014 6:17 PM
Southland Vikings (4-4)
at Northwest Indiana Oilmen (4-4, 3-3)
June 12, 2014 • 7:10 p.m. (CT) • Whiting, Ind.
The Oilmen and Vikings both had games impacted by weather each of the last two days. Northwest Indiana’s nonleague showdown with the Illinois Sparks was washed out on Tuesday, as was Southland’s schedule matchup with the Chicago Zephyrs. The Vikings and Oilmen were scheduled to meet on Wednesday at Homewood-Flossmoor High School, but rain and poor field conditions caused that game to be postponed until June 30. The Oilmen, who have now had four straight days off, edged the Michigan City Lakers 5-4 in what evolved into a slugfest on Saturday afternoon in Michigan City. Each team had two players smash home runs as Andrew Ray and James Meeker went yard for NWI while Greg Tolliver and Mike Schroeder did so for Michigan City. The four total home runs was the most in an Oilmen game since July 1, 2013 against the U.S. Military All-Stars, when there were five total long balls. The last time multiple Oilmen players hit home runs in the same game was July 16, 2012, when Chris Rudenga homered once and Bill Miller went deep twice in an 11-5 loss to Southland.
Inside the Oilmen
Oilmen manager Justin Huisman has done his fair share of mixing and matching early in the season. The Oilmen have not used identical lineups in any two games this year. The leadoff spot has been a revolving door involving Ryan Burvan, Kevin DeFilippis and Rob Blissitt. Burvan may have earned a longer look in the top spot in the batting order by enjoying a three-hit day on Saturday. No player on the Oilmen has started every game this season. The Oilmen defensive alignment has also been in a constant state of change so far this year. Burvan has started at four different positions (shortstop, second base, third base and left field) through the first eight games of the season.
Inside the Vikings
Southland is coming off an unusual weekend that saw the Vikings hand the Chicago Zephyrs their first victory of the season before tagging the DuPage County Hounds with their first defeat of the year. The Vikings dropped back-to-back games to the Zephyrs Friday and Saturday before topping DuPage County 8-5 on Sunday night.
About the Matchup
Historically, the Oilmen have had more trouble with the Southland Vikings than any other Midwest Collegiate League opponent. However, the Oilmen recorded a 2-0 victory in their first game against the Vikings this season at Homewood-Flossmoor High School on June 3. Jimmy McNamara tossed six shutout innings to guide the Oilmen to the win in the only matchup of the year between the two teams. The Oilmen are 11-12 in the all-time series with the Vikings entering Thursday’s game. This is scheduled to be the fifth meeting of the year between the two teams, but three of the first four schedule matchups were postponed due to inclement weather.
Around the Midwest Collegiate League
The matchup between Southland and Northwest Indiana is one of two scheduled Midwest Collegiate League games on Thursday. The first-place DuPage County Hounds visit the last-place Chicago Zephyrs in a game that is scheduled to start at 5:30 p.m. at Wabounsee Community College in Sugar Grove. The Joliet Admirals will be well rested when they visit the Oilmen on Friday as that will be their first game of the week.
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