07/21/2016 10:12 AM
Southland Vikings (16-21)
at Northwest Indiana Oilmen (23-18)
July 21, 2016 • 7:20 p.m. • Whiting, Ind.
Radio: AM 1230 WJOB, 104.7 FM (pregame 7 p.m.)
Online: NWIOilmen.com, wjob1230.com
NWI’s Luke Jaksich (Saint Joseph’s College / St. John, Ind.) vs. Southland’s Xavier Luna (Goshen / Logansport, Ind.)
The Oilmen saw a three-run lead slip away as they fell to the Lakers 4-3 in the second game of a doubleheader on Wednesday. Northwest Indiana did capture an 11-2 victory in the opener to notch a split in the twin bill. The Oilmen have lost three of four and find themselves in need of a win entering Thursday’s game against the Vikings.
Inside the Oilmen
Tyler Sroczynski struck out twice in Wednesday’s second game, just his third two-strikeout game in his 60-game Oilmen career. The last time he struck out twice was in his season debut at Bloomington on June 2. Marshawn Taylor had a much-needed two-hit game in Wednesday’s opener. After hitting .385 over his first six games, Taylor entered Wednesday hitting .097 over his last seven. Chase Fieldhouse was hit by a pitch in both games of Wednesday’s doubleheader. Fieldhouse has been hit by a pitch nine times this season, tying the franchise record that was set by Elliot Bajda in 2012 and matched by Fred Smart in 2015. Fieldhouse’s first seven hit by pitches came in his first 12 games of the year. Before Wednesday, he hadn’t been hit since June 17. In Wednesday’s second game, all nine hitters in the Oilmen order were either walked or hit by a pitch. Sroczynski is up to 19 stolen bases for the season, three away from Jack Czeszewski’s franchise record. Stefano Belmonte has 41 hits, nine away from Leiff Clarkson’s franchise record. The Oilmen are 25-3 when scoring six runs or more, but just 1-15 when scoring five runs or fewer. Stefano Belmonte is hitting .535 against the Vikings this season. Luke Jaksich will make the start on Thursday against the Vikings after pitching four strong innings in relief of Clay Keltner on Saturday against Southland. He allowed one run on three hits and three walks over four frames in the July 16 game to keep the contest competitive. Jaksich has a 3-0 record and 3.38 ERA over 29 1/3 innings this season. This marks his third start of the year with the Oilmen beating the Lakers in each of his first two. His most recent start was June 29.
Inside the Vikings
The Vikings are coming off a 5-4 loss to Joliet on Wednesday night. They led 2-0 and 3-2, but the Admirals took the lead for good with two in the sixth and one in the seventh. Colin Brauer took the loss after allowing four runs (two earned) on three hits and seven walks in six innings. Jalin McMillan, Austin Blazevic and Austin Lorenz all had two-hit games in the defeat. McMillan is among the hottest hitters in the MCL with hits in nine straight games and multiple hits in seven of nine. He is hitting .525 during that nine-game stretch and .706 in his last four games. For Lorenz, the two-hit game was much needed as he was 1-for-29 (.034 AVG) over his last nine games entering Wednesday. Blazevic has been hot of late with multiple hits in four of his last five. He is hitting .650 (13-for-20) in the last five games. Nine of Mitch Van Koevering’s 19 hits this season have come against the Oilmen. Starting pitcher Xavier Luna is 2-1 with a 9.12 ERA in 11 games totaling 24 2/3 innings. This will be his third start of the year. This will be his fifth game against the Oilmen this season. He threw an inning of relief and hit three straight batters on July 14, allowing two runs on one hit and one walk.
About the Matchup
The Oilmen and Vikings have split the first 10 meetings of the year right down the middle. The Oilmen lead the all-time series 27-23. The two teams will be twice more after Thursday – Saturday at Oil City Stadium and July 30 at Hap Bruno Field.
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