07/02/2015 2:00 PM -
July 2, 2015 • 7:10 p.m. • Whiting, Ind.
Radio: AM 1230 WJOB
Internet Broadcast: nwioilmen.com
NWI’s Enrique Zamora (Calumet College / Hammond, Ind.) vs. DuPage County’s Tom Concklin (Washington and Lee / Hinsdale, Ill.)
The top three hitters in the league among those with enough plate appearances to qualify will all be in uniform on Thursday. Tyler Sroczynski leads the league in hitting at .426, followed by DuPage’s Trent Carrier (.406) and NWI’s Stefano Belmonte (.404). Belmonte’s 21 runs batted in lead the league by a wide margin, with Jared McCunn of Lexington in second place with 15. NWI’s Sam Geraci features the league’s best on-base percentage at .485.
Inside the Oilmen
The Northwest Indiana Oilmen send Enrique Zamora to the mound for Thursday’s game. He earned the win in his last start, a six-inning outing at Lexington on June 20 in which he allowed one run on six hits. He pitched an inning of relief on June 27 against Joliet due to the long layoff between starts. Zamora started against DuPage County on June 11, notching the win despite yielding three runs on nine hits in seven innings. Zamora has a 2.12 ERA in six games and holds a 2-0 record with two saves. He ranks second in the league in strikeouts with 20. Joe Jumonville is hitting .542 in his last six games. Brad Wood had a 10-game hitting streak snapped on Wednesday.
Inside the Hounds
The Hounds have the best team ERA in the league at 3.21, just ahead of Northwest Indiana’s 3.22. The Hounds and Oilmen also rank one and two in the league in batting average, but in that category the two teams are flip-flopped. The Oilmen hold a league-best .303 average, while the Hound stand at .293. DuPage County’s Tom Concklin, an All-Star that ranks among the most effective pitchers in the MCL this season, will get the ball for manager Sean Osborne on Thursday. Concklin has worked 22 2/3 innings and holds a sparkling ERA of 1.19. He has issued four walks and struck out 17. Concklin faced the Oilmen on June 11 in Whiting, allowing only an unearned run on five hits and two walks while receiving no decision in an eventual 5-3 Oilmen win.
About the Matchup
First place has been on the line in all five meeting between the Oilmen and Hounds this season. Remarkably, the two teams have not been separated in the standings by more than one game at any point this summer. Thursday marks the first matchup between the two teams since June 18, when the Oilmen fell 4-3, their first loss to DuPage County this season. The Hounds hold a slim 15-14 lead in the all-time series against the Oilmen.
Around the MCL
Michigan City briefly climbed into fifth-place in the MCL this week, but Wednesday’s loss to the Oilmen caused the Lakers to slide back into sixth. Nearing the season’s midway point, it appears that Joliet, Michigan City and Southland are battling for the league’s final playoff spot. The Vikings are within a game of the Admirals for fourth in the MCL.
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