The Region's Team Of Northwest Indiana


Game Notes: Oilmen seeking second MCL championship on Saturday

08/06/2016 8:32 AM -

DuPage County Hounds (2-1)
at Northwest Indiana Oilmen (3-0)
*MCL Championship Series Game 2*

August 6, 2016 • 7:20 p.m. • Whiting, Ind.
Radio: AM 1230 WJOB, 104.7 FM

Pitching Matchup
NWI’s Christian Howell (Minnesota State Mankato / Aurora, Ill.) vs. DuPage County’s Joey Roberson (Cleveland State CC / Bartlett, Ill.)

For Starters
The Northwest Indiana Oilmen can clinch their second league title and first since 2012 with a victory over DuPage County on Saturday night. The Oilmen are 4-for-4 in closing out playoff series in Game 2 when they win Game 1 in team history. On Friday, the Oilmen prevailed 8-4 behind 4 1/3 innings of one-run relief by Hunter Clark. Clark, who was the winning pitcher, escaped bases-loaded jams without allowing any damage in back-to-back innings to help swing the momentum of the game. During the regular season, Clark pitched 11 1/3 innings against the Hounds without allowing a run. Friday’s big hit came on a bases-clearing triple by Jordan Flint that capped a five-run third inning for the Oilmen. The triple was Flint’s first of the postseason after he had one in 34 regular season games. The play was reminiscent of a bases-clearing double by Flint at DuPage County during the regular season.

Inside the Oilmen
The only Oilmen player with two hits in Friday’s series opener was catcher Jake Perreira, who is hitting .500 (5-for-10) in the postseason to lead the team. Perreira was not expected to receive much postseason playing time, but was right there to step in when Zack Forney went down with a season-ending injury (fractured bones in cheek) after being struck in the face by a ball in Game 1 of the postseason. Perreira, who hit .200 in the regular season, also leads the team in postseason doubles (3), extra-base hits (3), hits (5) and ranks second in postseason OBP (.545), slugging (.900) and RBIs (4). Stefano Belmonte had two more RBIs on Friday and now has 14 in 10 career MCL postseason games. Belmonte and Chase Fieldhouse will attempt to nail down their second MCL championship on Saturday night as both were members of the 2014 league-champion Vikings, who swept the Hounds in the finals. The Oilmen will bounce back Christian Howell on three days of rest as the starting pitcher on Saturday. He threw 99 pitches on Tuesday night while allowing one run on five hits and striking out six in 6 1/3 innings. Howell picked up the win in the 7-1 rout of Joliet. Howell will join Jimmy McNamara (2013) as the only Oilmen pitchers to make two starts within a single postseason. In addition, this is believed to be the first time in Oilmen history a pitcher has made two starts in a five-day period. Howell finished the regular season with a 5-1 record, 2.66 ERA, 25 walks, 36 strikeouts and 50 2/3 innings over nine games, eight starts. He faced the Hounds twice, getting no decision on July 1 despite 7 1/3 innings in which he allowed two runs (none earned) on five hits and three walks before notching the win with seven one-run frames on July 8.

Inside the Hounds
The bad news for the Hounds is that only one team has erased a one-game deficit and come back to win a playoff series in the seven-year history of the MCL. The good news for DuPage is that the aforementioned team was the Hounds a year ago, when they won Games 2 and 3 to beat Joliet in the MCL Semifinals. DuPage faces elimination on Saturday night, with hopes of extending the series to a rubber match on Sunday, which would take place at 1 p.m. at Joliet Junior College. The Hounds go with Joey Roberson as Saturday’s starting pitcher. The southpaw went 4-1 with a 3.76 ERA during the regular season while issuing 18 walks and striking out 18 over 38 1/3 innings. He had a 2.63 ERA over three appearances against the Oilmen (4 ER in 13 2/3 IP). All three of those outings came out of the bullpen. Roberson made only four starts in the regular season and hasn’t pitched in the postseason.

About the Matchup
DuPage County leads the all-time series 22-21. The two teams split the regular season series this year 4-4, while the Oilmen are 3-2 all-time against the Hounds in the postseason.

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