The Region's Team Of Northwest Indiana


Oilmen Look to Rebound as Admirals Come to Town on Friday

06/16/2017 10:29 AM -

Joliet Admirals (2-10)
at Northwest Indiana Oilmen (9-7)

June 16, 2017 • 7:10 p.m. • Whiting, Ind.      
Broadcast: Facebook Live 

Pitching Matchup
NWI’s Joe Graziano (Butler / Schererville, Ind.) vs. Joliet’s Brent Stephens (Eastern Oklahoma State / Oklahoma City, Okla.)

For Starters
The Oilmen will attempt to move on after making team history in all the wrong ways on Thursday night at Oil City Stadium. Over the years, the team has been consistently competitive in nearly every game, seldom letting it get ugly, but Thursday was a rare exception. The Oilmen allowed the most runs in a single game in the six-year history of the franchise, falling 19-1 to Bloomington. In addition, the 18 runs marked far and away the largest margin of defeat in franchise history. Previously, the most lopsided loss in Oilmen history was a 12-run loss at Lexington on June 1, 2014. It was not a banner day for the Oilmen pitching staff, which issued 18 walks, uncorked seven wild pitches, hit four batters and committed one balk. Four position players pitched in the game for the Oilmen in an effort to preserve the staff going forward. Now, it’s time to turn the page to a new ballgame as the Oilmen seek to sustain their success against the Admirals, a team they’re 3-0 against this season.

Inside the Oilmen
The Oilmen will send young southpaw Joe Graziano to the mound for Friday’s matchup with Joliet. Graziano just graduated from Lake Central High School and is preparing for his freshman campaign at Butler. He threw two perfect games this spring for the Indians. Graziano’s first college-level outing came on June 10 against Bloomington, when he threw four shutout frames while striking out five and issuing no walks and just two hits. Will Kulcher notched his first hit in an Oilmen uniform on Thursday night, his sixth game of the summer. He accounted for one of the team’s three hits, joining Amir Wright and Jack Ciomber. Ciomber snapped out of a mini-slump after going 0-for-8 in the previous two games, while Wright stayed hot and is now 8-for-his-last-18.

Inside the Admirals  
Joliet mustered up its second victory of the season on Thursday, scoring six runs in the bottom of the eighth to knock off the first-place Hounds 14-9. Sean Arnold and Trevor Schwecke had three hits apiece, while Ranko Stevanovic led the way with four hits and five RBIs. Joliet, under the direction of first-year manager Jeff Halter, is hitting .269 as a team and owns a 6.73 ERA. Arnold leads the way with a .450 average in 11 games. Joliet will send Stephens to the mound for Friday’s game. He has worked 14 innings over three games this season and has a 3.21 ERA, issuing five walks and striking out nine. Stephens (0-0) will make his third start and fourth appearance on Friday. He plays at Eastern Oklahoma State (JUCO). The Admirals’ roster features former Oilmen catcher Zack Forney, who spent the 2016 season with NWI.

About the Matchup
This is the fourth meeting of the year between the Oilmen and Admirals, with Northwest Indiana owning victories in each of the first three. The Oilmen prevailed 7-1 on May 29 and 10-2 on June 2, then pulled out a 9-8 extra-inning victory on June 9. Dating back to last year’s MCL Semifinal Series, the Oilmen have won five straight meetings with the Admirals. The Oilmen are 32-10 all-time against Joliet, including games when the team was known as the Rockford Foresters.

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