07/10/2015 10:24 AM -
July 10, 2015 • 5 p.m. • Michigan City, Ind.
Internet Broadcast: nwioilmen.com
NWI’s Enrique Zamora (Calumet College / Hammond, Ind.) vs. Michigan City’s Shane Prance (Purdue North Central / Portage, Ind.)
The Oilmen experienced a touch of déjà vu on Thursday when they once again stranded the bases loaded in their final at-bat in a 7-5 defeat. It was the second time in the last three games that the exact scenario played out, as Zack Jones grounded out in the ninth to end Thursday’s loss to the Vikings after Brad Wood bounced out in the 11th to end a July 4 loss to the Lakers. Overall, it was the fourth time the Oilmen had the bases loaded in their final at-bat of a one- or two-run game and failed to capitalize. Jones also made the final out of a 4-3 setback to DuPage County on June 18 with the bags full in the ninth. On June 10 against Joliet, the Oilmen had the bases juiced and one away when Sam Geraci lined into a double play with Jeremy Wright being doubled off first. Southland’s Jake Hickey launched a grand slam against Brandon Murray in the second inning on Thursday to provide the game’s big blow. Hickey entered the game hitting .226 with three RBIs this summer.
Inside the Oilmen
Fred Smart enjoyed his first four-hit game in an Oilmen uniform on Thursday. He was the bright spot of the day, boosting his batting average from .236 to .283. Smart drove in three runs, also an individual season high, to lift his RBI total to 10. The Oilmen now have eight different players with at least 10 RBIs. The Oilmen go with front-end starter Enrique Zamora to try to take out the Lakers on Friday. Zamora, a 2015 Midwest Collegiate League All-Star, has picked up wins in all three of his starts this season. He leads the Oilmen with 28 strikeouts, tied for third in the league.
Inside the Lakers
The Lakers are also looking to get back on track following a 6-2 loss to Joliet on Thursday. With Southland’s win coupled with the Michigan City defeat, the Lakers have retreated back to the basement of the Midwest Collegiate League, one game behind the Vikings and two games in back of Joliet for the final playoff spot. The Lakers feature Eastern Michigan’s Joe Kennedy, who leads the league in batting average at .439 and on-base percentage at .515. He was named the MVP of Tuesday’s All-Star Game. Shane Prance faced the Oilmen on July 1, taking the loss after allowing eight runs (six earned) on nine hits in six innings.
About the Matchup
The Lakers have had great success against the Oilmen this season, winning four of the first six meetings. A Michigan City win on Friday would secure at least a split in the season series with three more meetings remaining. The Oilmen are 0-2 in Michigan City this year.
Around the MCL
The other top two teams in the league – the Snipes and Hounds – face off on Friday at High Desert Field. An Oilmen loss to the Lakers would have serious repercussions in the MCL standings. Pending the outcome of the Snipes/Hounds game, they would either drop to third place for the first time this season or fall to more than a game out of first for the first time all year.
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