07/31/2015 10:19 AM -
July 31, 2015 • 4 p.m. & 7:30 p.m. • Whiting, Ind.
Radio: AM 1230 WJOB (game two only)
Internet Broadcast: nwioilmen.com (both games)
Game 1 - NWI’s Brad Wood (Northern Illinois / Orland Park, Ill.) vs. Lexington’s Jack Rettig (Illinois State / Mahomet-Seymour)
Game 2 –NWI’s Brian Jestice (Evansville / Hoffman Estates, Ill.) vs. Lexington’s Matt Jenkins (Parkland)
The Snipes and Oilmen meet in a doubleheader on the final day of the regular season for the second consecutive year. Last year, the No. 3 seed in the postseason was up for grabs, and the Oilmen secured it by winning both games. This year, the stakes are even higher. The two teams will meet starting on Saturday in a best-of-three Midwest Collegiate League playoff series, but home-field advantage for that series hinges on Friday’s games. If the Oilmen win both games, they would host Game 1 of the playoffs on Saturday and Game 3 on Monday, if necessary. If the Oilmen lose both or split on Friday, their only home game in the first round will be Game 2 on Sunday. The Oilmen are playing their best baseball of July, having won five of their last six.
Inside the Oilmen
Tyler Sroczynski will vie for the Oilmen single-season batting average record on Friday. He is batting .389, two points better than the previous record set by John Loeffler in 2012. NWI’s Stefano Belmonte and DuPage County’s Ryan Fitzgerald are tied for the league lead in RBIs entering Friday with 28 apiece. Sroczynski has 27. After an 0-for-9 slump, Sroczynski is hitting .556 in his last four games. The Oilmen enter Friday batting .289 as a team, which would be the best average in team history. The 2012 team currently holds the top batting average at .286. The Oilmen have already achieved their highest win total since 2012, when they finished 28-16 and went on to win the league title. Brian Jestice is 4-1 with a 4.27 ERA in 46 1/3 innings. He has issued 27 walks and recorded 34 strikeouts. Brad Wood, used mostly as a position player, has pitched only 2 2/3 innings this season and holds a 6.75 ERA.
Inside the Snipes
The Snipes are well rested after enjoying three consecutive off days leading into Friday’s doubleheader. The Snipes will send a pair of left-handed starters to the mound on Friday. Jack Rettig has thrown 16 1/3 innings and holds a 4.41 ERA. This will be his 12th game and fourth start. He pitched in relief against the Oilmen on July 12, allowing two runs in 1 2/3 innings. Game 2 starter Matt Jenkins is no stranger to facing off with the Oilmen, having already done so three times this season. Jenkins has an 8.10 ERA in 13 1/3 innings against NWI. Overall, his ERA is 7.41 in eight starts. In their last game, the Snipes tied 1-1 with the Admirals in the second game of a doubleheader on Monday, the first tie in the 15-year history of the Snipes. Owen Miller (.347), Chris Maranto (.327), Jared McCunn (.316 / 2 / 25) and Neal Tyrell (.308 / 1 /16) are among the biggest threats in the Lexington lineup.
About the Matchup
The Snipes hold a 4-3 edge in the season series between the two teams. With a doubleheader sweep on Friday, the Oilmen would win the season set against Lexington. If that occurs, the Oilmen will have won the season series against every team in the league except the Michigan City Lakers. The Oilmen lead the all-time series with the Snipes 15-9.
Around the MCL
The playoff matchups are set, as the Admirals face the Hounds in the first round with Game 1 on Saturday at 1 p.m. at the Lemont Sports Complex. The Hounds are off on Friday, while the Admirals visit the Lakers in the regular season finale. Southland lost both games of a doubleheader on Thursday and saw its season come to a close, as the Vikings missed the playoffs for the first time in league history.
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