07/17/2016 11:44 AM
Joliet Admirals (20-15)
at Northwest Indiana Oilmen (22-16)
July 17, 2016 • 4 p.m. • Whiting, Ind.
Radio: AM 1230 WJOB, 104.7 FM
Online: NWIOilmen.com, wjob1230.com
NWI’s Richard Yelnick (Trinity Christian / New Lenox, Ill.) vs. Joliet’s Brandon Popp
For the second time in the last three days, first place in the Midwest Collegiate League is up for grabs at Oil City Stadium. After surpassing DuPage County with Friday’s win, this time it’s the Oilmen trying to cling to the top spot. The Admirals and Hounds are tied for second, both just ½ game behind the Oilmen. The Hounds play a doubleheader against the Lakers on Sunday. The Oilmen saw their seven-game winning streak snapped on Friday night with an 11-5 loss to Southland. Clay Keltner allowed nine earned runs in three innings after allowing five earned runs in his first 34 2/3 innings this season. Keltner’s ERA went from 1.30 to 3.35. The Oilmen dropped to 1-13 when scoring five runs or fewer.
Inside the Oilmen
Stefano Belmonte has multi-hit games in six of his last seven. He has 12 multi-hit performances this season and leads the league in hitting at .402. Belmonte has struck out just five times in 119 plate appearances this season. He is in position to threaten the Oilmen single-season batting average record of .397 established by Tyler Sroczynski last year. Jordan Flint had two hits on Saturday and is 6-for-12 in his last four games. Chris Baker leads the team in walks with 23, seven shy of the single-season franchise record set by Jack Czeszewski in 2013. Czeszewski also owns the single-season stolen base record of 23, which is seven ahead of Sroczynski’s current season total. The Oilmen have 102 two-out RBIs this season to lead the league by a wide margin. Southland ranks second with 60. Sroczynski leads the league with 13 two-out RBIs. He has also done the best job of working counts of any hitter in the league as Sroczynski has a league-most 30 plate appearances that have seen six or more pitches. Sunday’s starting pitcher Richard Yelnick is 2-1 with a 1.29 ERA in 28 innings (seven games, five starts). His most recent outing came on July 9 at Southland, when he worked four scoreless innings in a lopsided Oilmen win. He has faced the Admirals once this season, getting the win on June 5 in Joliet. He allowed two runs (one earned) on eight hits while striking out three and walking none over five innings in his season debut.
Inside the Admirals
Joliet finds itself just ½ game behind the Oilmen in the MCL standings and tied with DuPage for second after beating the Hounds 5-1 on Saturday. Joliet’s Brendan Brundage has taken over the league lead with 28 RBIs. Brundage has at least one hit in 16 of his last 17 and 28 of his 31 games. Cody Grosse has been an on-base machine with a team-high OBP of .505. Grosse has multiple hits in five straight and seven of his last eight. He’s hitting .571 over his last five games. Matt Flummerfelt notched a hit on Friday after going 0-for-16 over his previous five games. Sunday’s starting pitcher is Brandon Popp, who is 1-4 with a 3.49 ERA in six games, five starts spanning 28 1/3 innings. He has walked 14 and struck out nine. Popp’s most recent outing was four innings against DuPage on July 9, when he allowed four runs (none earned) on five hits to take the loss. The Oilmen scored eight runs (five earned) on nine hits in four innings to beat Popp on June 26.
About the Matchup
This is the first meeting between the two teams since June 28, a 13-4 win for the Oilmen. The Oilmen lead the season series 5-2 with four meetings remaining including Sunday. They can secure the season series with a win. The Oilmen lead the all-time series 26-7.
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