The Region's Team Of Northwest Indiana


Game Notes: Rivalry reaches new heights as Oilmen, Hounds play for title

08/04/2016 6:10 PM -

Northwest Indiana Oilmen (2-0)
at DuPage County Hounds (2-0)
*MCL Championship Series Game 1*

August 5, 2016 • 5 p.m. • Lemont, Ill.
Radio: AM 1230 WJOB, 104.7 FM (join in progress at 6 p.m.)
Online: (full game, 4:40 p.m. pregame)

Pitching Matchup
NWI’s Sam Geraci (Illinois Springfield / Steger, Ill.) vs. DuPage County’s Chase Lowman (College of DuPage / League City, Texas)

For Starters
A rivalry that dates back to the first game in franchise history for both teams will head into previously unchartered territory on Friday night. For the first time ever, the Oilmen and DuPage County Hounds will meet in the Midwest Collegiate League championship series. The Hounds and Oilmen have met in the postseason on two prior occasions, with the Oilmen sweeping a first-round series in 2012 and the Hounds returning the favor in 2014. The Oilmen will compete in a league championship game for the first time since Aug. 4, 2013, a 4-1 loss to the Southland Vikings.

Inside the Oilmen
On the exact four-year anniversary of clinching the 2012 MCL title, the Oilmen will seek their first championship game victory since that 6-2 win over DeKalb on Aug. 5, 2012. The winning pitcher that day was Andy Wellwerts, who joined the inaugural squad for the stretch run to the league title. This time, the Oilmen give the ball to right-hander Sam Geraci for Game 1 of the championship. The infielder-turned-pitcher worked out of the bullpen in Game 1 of the first-round series in Joliet, hurling 1 1/3 scoreless innings on just 19 pitches. Geraci finished the regular season with a 5-0 record in six games, five starts. He posted a 2.97 ERA (with five of his 11 earned runs allowed coming in one start on July 14 against Southland) and issued six walks against 20 strikeouts. Geraci did not face the Hounds during the regular season. The Oilmen clinched a spot in the MCL Finals in fitting fashion, racking up 15 hits to overcome four errors, an accurate representation of the team’s season. Sluggers Tyler Sroczynski and Stefano Belmonte both launched first-inning homers in Wednesday’s 14-6 win over the Admirals. Six different Oilmen had multi-hit games. Belmonte is the only player in the league making his third consecutive playoff appearance. He is hitting .520 (13-for-25) in his MCL postseason career with two home runs and 12 RBIs in nine games, including four games with the Southland Vikings in 2014.

Inside the Hounds
The Hounds are seeking back-to-back MCL championships after they took two of three from the Lexington Snipes last season. If DuPage County wins the series, it will become the second team to win consecutive league titles. The Southland Vikings turned the tricked in 2013 and 2014. DuPage County hurler Chase Lowman logged 50 innings and went 5-3 during the regular season. He posted a 3.42 ERA, issued 25 walks and struck out a team-high 44. Lowman faced the Oilmen twice during the regular season, taking the loss on July 15 (5 1/3 IP, 2 R, 6 H, 4 BB) and on June 17 (1 1/3 IP, 5 H, 9 R, 6 ER, 4 BB). The Hounds are led offensively by Brandon Post, who had a .359 average, two home runs and 33 RBIs. Their top run producer is Tyler Tesmond, who drove in 35 while hitting .276.

About the Matchup
DuPage County leads the all-time series 22-20, while the two teams have split the first four playoff meetings all-time. The Oilmen and Hounds also split this year’s regular season series, with each team capturing four wins. The Oilmen played two extra-inning games all season, both against DuPage County. They played three one-run games against each other and half of the regular-season meetings were decided by two runs or fewer.

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