07/29/2015 8:56 AM -
July 29, 2015 • 7:10 p.m. • Whiting, Ind.
Radio: AM 1230 WJOB
Internet Broadcast: nwioilmen.com
NWI’s Christian Howell (Minnesota State Mankato / Aurora, Ill.) vs. DuPage County’s Tom Concklin (Washington and Lee / Hinsdale, Ill.)
The DuPage County Hounds can clinch the Midwest Collegiate League regular season title with a win on Wednesday. It would mark the Hounds’ second regular season championship in the team’s four-year history. Their first regular season title was clinched against NWI on July 28, 2013, when the Hounds beat Jim Hinkleman and the Oilmen 6-2 on the final night of the regular season in Lisle. The Oilmen looked on as the Hounds dog-piled in celebration of their first regular season championship. If the Oilmen finish the week 4-0, they clinch home-field advantage in the first round of the playoffs. With the next Oilmen loss, the Snipes clinch home-field advantage in the first round of the playoffs.
Inside the Oilmen
The Oilmen rounded out the season series with Southland in dominating fashion, besting the Vikings 10-4 on Tuesday to finish 8-1 in head-to-head meetings. Joe Jumonville went 3-for-3 and reached base in all four plate appearances. Christian Howell gets the start for NWI on Wednesday. He may be on a limited pitch count as manager Adam Enright continues to set up his staff for the postseason. Howell heaved a complete game on July 22 against Lexington, taking his first loss while allowing four runs (three earned) on seven hits. Howell has not faced the Hounds yet this season.
Inside the Hounds
DuPage County ace Tom Concklin gets the ball to try to nail down the No. 1 seed in the playoffs. He holds a 3-0 record and 2.51 ERA. Concklin has already faced the Oilmen three times this season, allowing two earned runs in 17 innings (1.06 ERA). He tossed six frames and picked up the win on July 1, allowing one run (unearned) on four hits. After a stellar start to the season, Concklin has looked fallible of late, allowing four runs in six innings against Lexington on July 18 and six runs (four earned) in six innings against Michigan City on July 24.
About the Matchup
The Oilmen are 4-4 against the Hounds this season, with the season series hinging on Wednesday’s game. If he Oilmen prevail, they will take the season set from the rival Hounds for the first time since 2012. The Oilmen have dropped three straight meetings with the Hounds after taking four of the first five. The Hounds picked up a wacky 5-4 victory over the Oilmen on July 23, a game the Oilmen led 1-0 as late as the seventh inning. Hunter Morris drove in three with a fly ball that split the gap in left center in the bottom of the eighth, the play that proved to be the difference in the game.
Around the MCL
With DuPage County’s 7-5 win over Joliet on Tuesday, the Michigan City Lakers find themselves in control of their own playoff destiny. If the Lakers win on Wednesday night at Southland and Thursday night at Oil City Stadium, that would set up a winner-take-all game on Friday at 5 p.m. at the Marquette Athletic Complex between the Lakers and Admirals. If the Lakers lose any of their three remaining games, Joliet will advance to the postseason as the No. 4 seed.
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