The Region's Team Of Northwest Indiana


Game Notes: Oilmen and Snipes tango in Monday Matchup

07/12/2015 5:00 PM -

Lexington Snipes (16-11)
at Northwest Indiana Oilmen (15-12) 

July 13, 2015 • 6:10 p.m. • Whiting, Ind.  
Radio: AM 1230 WJOB
Internet Broadcast:
Pitching Matchup
NWI’s Jimmy Skiff (Purdue Calumet / Dyer, Ind.) vs. Lexington’s Reid Birlingmair (University of Chicago)
For Starters
The Oilmen have dropped four straight games for the first time since 2012. They are winless since the All-Star Break and have lost six of their last seven. Tyler Sroczynski snapped out of a 2-for-14 slump with three hits, including a two-run homer, on Sunday in Lexington. It was Sroczynski’s second home run this season. Sam Geraci also launched his second big fly of the year, just two days after cracking his first. With Sunday’s two home runs, the Oilmen have already established the franchise record for team home runs in a single season. They have 11 home runs, surpassing the 10 total long balls from the 2012 campaign. The Oilmen have as many homers this year as they did in 2013 and 2014 combined, and the season still has 19 games remaining. The Oilmen have committed seven errors and issued 12 walks in the last two games.  
Inside the Oilmen
Stefano Belmonte continued his torrid stretch with two hits on Sunday. His average is up to a team-high .378 while he continues to lead the league in runs batted in with 24. Nobody else on the team has more than 13 runs driven in. Josh Turnock has quietly grabbed the team lead in on-base percentage at .464. The Eastern Illinois catcher also holds a .345 batting average. Despite their recent struggles, the Oilmen have still had a much-improved offensive season. They have eight players hitting .285 or better. A year ago, only two players (Craig Dedelow and Jason Gasser) hit above .290. As a team, the Oilmen are batting .295. Last year’s team batting average was .249. Jimmy Skiff faces the Snipes again on Monday after allowing seven runs (three earned) in five innings on July 3, a 7-3 Lexington victory.
Inside the Snipes
The Snipes have won five of their last six, with their hot stretch coinciding with the Oilmen cold spell. That combination has allowed Lexington to take over second place in the Midwest Collegiate League. The Snipes hold a one-game lead over the Oilmen, who could draw even with a win on Monday. The Snipes received a strong pitching performance from Ross Learnard, who yielded one run on five hits in six innings while striking out four and walking one on Sunday. Cale Robinson enters Monday with a six-game hitting streak. Reid Birlingmair (1-0, 6.18 ERA) faces the Oilmen for the first time this season.  
About the Matchup
The Snipes and Oilmen have played all five of the scheduled meetings in Lexington, but have not played any of the four games slated to take place at Oil City Stadium. Two games were rained out, including one that is scheduled to be made up on Monday. The Oilmen held a 2-0 lead in the season series, but the Snipes have since rattled off three straight head-to-head wins. The Oilmen lead the all-time series 14-8.
Around the MCL
The Admirals blanked the Lakers 9-0 on Saturday as Sean Renzi threw a complete-game shutout and struck out seven. In the process, the Admirals expanded their lead to 2 ½ games over Michigan City for the fourth and final playoff spot. They are now within 2 ½ games of the third-place Oilmen. DuPage County picked up its fourth straight victory, scoring four in the ninth to beat Southland 6-2.