The Region's Team Of Northwest Indiana


Game Notes: Oilmen enter Saturday with eyes on first place

07/09/2016 8:57 AM -

Northwest Indiana Oilmen (18-15)
at Southland Vikings (15-13)

July 9, 2016 • 1 p.m. • Chicago Heights, Ill.
Radio: AM 1230 WJOB, 104.7 FM (1 p.m. air time)

Pitching Matchup
NWI’s Richard Yelnick (Trinity Christian / New Lenox, Ill.) vs. Southland Phil Madvek (Purdue Northwest / Hobart, Ind.)

For Starters
The Oilmen have won four straight games for the third time this season, and a win on Saturday would allow them to reach five consecutive wins for the first time all year. The Oilmen have reached three games above .500 for the first time this season. Their recent run of success has climbed them into second place in the MCL standings. Saturday’s game has major implications on the standings as the Oilmen could finish the day anywhere from first to fourth. After Saturday, the Oilmen will have three days off for the All-Star Break. They will have 11 representatives at Tuesday’s MCL All-Star Game, which will be hosted at Oil City Stadium.

Inside the Oilmen
The Oilmen will play in back of left-handed starter Richard Yelnick on Saturday afternoon. Yelnick is 2-1 with a 1.50 ERA in 24 innings and was recently added to the MCL White All-Stars. He has issued just seven walks and racked up 22 strikeouts in six games, four starts. This will be Yelnick’s first start against the Vikings, but he did work a scoreless inning of relief against them on June 11. Tommy Szczasny cracked his second home run of the season and lifted his RBI total to 23 in Friday’s 7-1 win over the Hounds. Szczasny ranks third in the league behind DuPage’s Tyler Tesmond (26) and Joliet’s Brendan Brundage (25) in the RBI department. Szczasny has only had 88 plate appearances, while Tesmond has 122 and Brundage 128. Tyler Sroczynski is the league leader in runs scored with 30 and home runs with four. Sroczynski is second in the league in stolen bases with 15. He was caught stealing for the second time this season on Friday, but both have come on plays where he took off before the ball left the pitcher’s hand rather than a true caught stealing by a catcher.

Inside the Vikings
Lucas Karz is the league leader in walks with 21, but has just six hits and is hitting .105. Nick Wheeler is the team leader in RBIs with 18, while Amir Wright owns a .375 batting average. The Vikings are coming off an 8-7 win over the Lakers on Friday that required 10 innings to complete. Jalin McMillan collected three hits, while Amir Wright, Nick Wheeler and Jaylin Davis notched two hits apiece. The Vikings enter Saturday tied with Joliet for third in the MCL, 1 ½ games behind DuPage and a ½ game in back of the Oilmen. Southland starting pitcher Phil Madvek will make his third start of the season on Saturday. He beat the Oilmen on June 23 despite allowing four earned runs on nine hits and two walks in six innings. He is 2-0 with a 4.91 ERA in 11 innings this year.

About the Matchup
The Oilmen lost the most recent meeting between these two teams 2-0 on July 2. That was also the most recent NWI defeat before a four-game winning streak. This is the seventh meeting of the year between the two teams with the Vikings owning wins in four of the first six. The Oilmen lead the all-time series 24-22.

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