07/25/2015 12:01 AM -
July 25, 2015 • 1 p.m. • Chicago Heights, Ill. (doubleheader)
Internet Broadcast: nwioilmen.com
Game 1: NWI’s Brian Jestice (Evansville / Hoffman Estates, Ill.) vs. Southland’s TBD
Game 2: NWI’s Keith Mahler (Highland, Ind.) vs. Southland’s TBD
The Northwest Indiana Oilmen saw their impressive streak of scoring at least one run in every game that lasted exactly two calendar years come to an end on Friday. The Oilmen were blanked by Joliet 10-0, the first time the team was shutout since July 23, 2013, a 1-0 defeat to the Zephyrs. Joliet pitcher Chris Hawks sent down 17 straight Oilmen as Zack Jones’ second-inning single was the only NWI hit of the game. Joliet’s Alex Wolanski increased his league-high total to 22 hit by pitches on Friday by being nailed twice in the game against the Oilmen. Wolanski has been hit by a pitch 22 times in only 28 games this season. No other player in the league has been hit by a pitch more than eight times.
Inside the Oilmen
The Oilmen need at least three wins over their final eight games to secure their fourth consecutive winning season. The Oilmen need to sweep Saturday’s doubleheader to get back to .500 within the month of July. They are currently 8-10 since the calendar flipped. The Oilmen enter Saturday looking to snap an eight-game road losing streak. Stefano Belmonte (.350) and Tyler Srocynski (.347) are vying for the team’s best batting average entering the final week. Belmonte is also trying to nail down the league’s RBI title. He has driven in 26 runs to lead the league, with Lexington’s Jared McCunn (25) and DuPage County’s Trent Carrier (23) right behind. Srocynski and Belmonte each have 10 doubles, tied for second in the league. Joliet’s Chris Hipchen ranks first with 13. Srocynski is tied for second in the league with 12 stolen bases, as DuPage County’s Joe Duncan leads the MCL with 19.
Inside the Vikings
The Vikings need to finish strong to overtake Joliet for the final playoff spot. Saturday’s doubleheader will go a long way in determining Southland’s playoff fate. The Vikings are in danger of missing the playoffs for the first time in the team’s six-year history.
About the Matchup
The Oilmen lead the all-time series over Southland 19-18. The Oilmen have already nailed down the season series by winning five of the first six meetings. The most recent matchup came on Tuesday, when the Oilmen cruised to an 8-1 win. Saturday marks the first time the Oilmen have visited Hap Bruno Field since June 3. Brandon Barnes was the starting pitcher that day, leaving with a season-ending injury after 15 pitches. After Saturday, the two teams will meet one more time, Tuesday night at Oil City Stadium.
Around the MCL
The Hounds need two more wins to clinch their second Midwest Collegiate League regular season title. They entertain Joliet at 1 p.m. on Saturday. The Snipes, Oilmen and Hounds have all clinched playoff berths, with the Admirals in good position to capture the final postseason spot. The postseason begins on Saturday, August 1.
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