06/14/2017 8:09 AM
DuPage County Hounds (11-2)
at Northwest Indiana Oilmen (9-6)
June 14, 2017 • 7:10 p.m. • Whiting, Ind.
Broadcast: Facebook Live
NWI’s Nate Thomas (Northern Illinois / South Bend, Ind.) vs. DuPage County’s Jacob Nagel (Bellarmine University / Bollingbrook, Ill.)
It’s a battle of old rivals as the Oilmen welcome the DuPage County Hounds to Oil City Stadium on Wednesday evening for another 2016 MCL Championship Series rematch. The Oilmen enter Wednesday’s game with DuPage County riding high, as they’ve rapped off four consecutive wins. The most recent triumph came on Tuesday as the Oilmen dispatched the Vikings 11-4, their first win over Southland this season. The Oilmen have scored nine runs or more in each of their last four games. As a team, the Oilmen are hitting .295, have stolen a league-leading 32 bases, own a 4.51 ERA and have a .944 fielding percentage. The Oilmen own their longest winning streak since stringing together seven straight in early July of last season.
Inside the Oilmen
Amir Wright, playing in his second season in the MCL and first with the Oilmen, has been a stable force in the Oilmen lineup this season. He’s hitting .423 in 12 games with three doubles and a .508 on-base percentage. Wright has reached base in 11 of his 12 games this season. Dashon Moore is the only player on the Oilmen roster who has appeared in all 15 games so far this summer. He has undoubtedly earned his place in manager Adam Enright’s lineup, as Moore holds a .353 average and has a team-high 13 runs scored. In five games so far this year, second-year Oilman Blake Cleveland has found success at the plate, going 9-for-18. Five of his nine hits have been doubles, a team watermark in two baggers. Other Oilmen fwho have enjoyed strong offensive seasons include Hunter Thorn (.340 AVG), Tyler Sroczynski (.321) and Noah Davis (.320). Davis leads the club in RBIs with 18. Sroczynski is hitting .400 over his last seven games after batting .190 over his first five. Sroczynski owns Oilmen career records in hits (114), home runs (11), runs scored (97), games played (79) and RBIs (68). The Oilmen will send Nate Thomas to the mound for Wednesday’s game against the Hounds. Thomas heaved four innings on May 31 at DuPage County, allowing three earned runs on five hits while striking out three. He was saddled with the loss in his second start, which was against the Vikings on June 8. He yielded five runs (four earned) on five hits and fanned three. Wednesday will mark Thomas’s third start of the campaign. The Mishawaka Marian graduate pitched 45 1/3 innings as a freshman this season at Northern Illinois, going 4-4 with a 5.16 ERA.
Inside the Hounds
DuPage County has been a force to be reckoned with thus far. They stand at 11-2 and are coming off a thrilling 5-4 win over the Crestwood Panthers that took 12 innings to complete on Tuesday night at the Lemont Sports Complex. Both of DuPage County’s losses this season have come to the Oilmen. The Hounds are a combined 10-0 against the rest of the league. Joe Stewart is off to a strong start for the Hounds, batting .439 in 13 games with a league-leading 25 hits. Another offensive standout has been Tristan Welch, who owns a .354 average and has driven in a league-leading 20 runs while scoring 22, also a league high. Welch also leads the league in doubles with eight. The Hounds far and away lead the league in batting average at .324, 29 points ahead of the second-place Oilmen. Stewart has seven stolen bases, tied with Sroczynski for the league lead. Starting pitcher Jacob Nagel will make his first start of the summer after pitching an inning of scoreless relief on June 10 at Joliet. The Hounds lead the league with a 4.07 team ERA.
About the Matchup
The Oilmen and Hounds have been doing battle for as long as both teams have been in existence. The first game in the history of both teams occurred against one another in 2012. A year ago, the two squads faced off in the MCL Championship Series, with the Oilmen prevailing in three games. The Oilmen have a 25-24 lead in an all-time series that is about as evenly-matched as it comes. Wednesday will mark the 50th matchup between the Oilmen and Hounds.
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