07/28/2015 9:17 AM -
July 28, 2015 • 7:10 p.m. • Whiting, Ind.
Radio: AM 1230 WJOB
Internet Broadcast: nwioilmen.com
NWI’s Sam Bell (Marian / Munster, Ind.) vs. Southland’s Matt Sandoval (Purdue Calumet / Highland, Ind.)
The Vikings needs to win to stay in the playoff race. If the Vikings win their remaining four games and the Admirals lose their last two, the Vikings would capture the final playoff spot. The Oilmen will finish either second or third in the Midwest Collegiate League. Their efforts are focused on catching the Lexington Snipes for home-field advantage in the opening round of the playoffs. The Oilmen need to win all five of their remaining games to overtake the Snipes for second place.
Inside the Oilmen
The Oilmen finished 8-11 on the road this season after starting 5-1. The road struggles make this week’s games important as they attempt to nail down home-field advantage in the opening round of the playoffs. Sam Bell will make his first start in an Oilmen uniform on Tuesday night. The Munster graduate owns a 3.05 ERA in 20.2 innings this summer. He is 0-2, has walked five and has recorded 13 strikeouts. Bell will become the 10th different Oilmen pitcher to start a game this season. Starting is not foreign to Bell, who made seven starts for Marian this spring.
Inside the Vikings
The Vikings pulled out an improbable victory over the Admirals on Sunday afternoon. Jeff Cardenas, normally an infielder, was the winning pitcher. He threw two scoreless innings. Three different position players pitched in the game for Southland. The Vikings had a 7-3 advantage going to the seventh inning, but then the Admirals grabbed the lead with a five-run frame. The Vikings responded with three of their own to regain the lead, then Southland added two more in the eighth and the Admirals scored twice in the ninth to cap a wild game. Chris Pikoulas was the offensive star, racking up four hits. The Vikings have allowed seven runs or more in five straight games.
About the Matchup
The Oilmen lead the all-time series with the Vikings 21-18. They have dominated Southland this season, winning seven of the first eight meetings. Most recently, the Oilmen swept a doubleheader from the Vikings by a combined score of 23-1 on Saturday at Hap Bruno Field. Tyler Sroczynski had six hits and eight RBIs in the twin bill. This is the final meeting of the year between the two teams.
Around the MCL
The DuPage County Hounds enter Tuesday needing two more wins to lock up the Midwest Collegiate League regular season title. At the midway point in the season it seemed to be a forgone conclusion that either the Oilmen or Hounds would place first in the league standings. Now, with less than a week to go in the regular season, the Snipes trail the Hounds by only two games. If the Hounds lose two of their next three, the Snipes would still have life for the top spot entering Friday’s doubleheader with the Oilmen.
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