06/01/2018 11:23 PM
Northwest Indiana Oilmen (1-2)
at Joliet Generals (1-2)
June 2, 2018 • 1 p.m. • Joliet, Ill.
Broadcast: Oilmen Broadcasting Network (Facebook Live)
NWI’s Chad Patrick (Purdue Northwest / Hebron, Ind.) vs. Joliet’s Jake Diaz (Moraine Valley CC / Oak Lawn, Ill.)
The Oilmen will begin a new head-to-head series on Saturday as they face off with the Joliet Generals for the first time. NWI enters the contest looking to avoid a three-game skid, while the Generals are fresh off their first win and have hopes of building that momentum into a .500 mark through four games.
Inside the Oilmen
The Oilmen will look to scratch out more than six hits in a game for the first time this season on Saturday. They are being led offensively by Nick Figus, who became the first Oilmen player with a three-hit game this season in Friday’s 7-1 loss at Southland. He accounted for three of the team’s six hits. Figus is batting .571 in two games and also owns a .727 on-base percentage. The Oilmen started the season with 22 walks on Monday at Crestwood, but Friday at Southland was quite the opposite, as they had no bases on balls. The Oilmen would prefer to avoid falling to 1-3 on Saturday afternoon, but it’s worth noting that the worst start in franchise history was 2016, when the Oilmen began the year 1-6. NWI went on to win its second MCL title that season. The Oilmen will go with Chad Patrick for his NWI debut on Saturday. The Hebron High School graduate just finished his freshman year at Division-II Purdue Northwest, where he earned three wins and one save while striking out 39 in 11 appearances and six starts spanning 32 innings.
Inside the Generals
The Generals are in their first season as a member of the Midwest Collegiate League. The club’s inaugural manager is Joe Hernandez, who has nearly 40 years of baseball experience. He’s spent the last 12 years running his own baseball training business – Total Pro Baseball Lessons. He was a scout with the Montreal Expos in the late 1990s, served as a spring training coach for the Tampa Bay Rays in 2003 and has worked with the Colorado Rockies as an amateur adviser since 2015. After a high-scoring 15-11 loss to DuPage County and a low-scoring 3-0 setback to Bloomington to start the season, the Generals picked up their first win as a franchise by beating Crestwood 13-6 on Friday. The 13 runs on 13 hits helped Joliet bounce back offensively after Bloomington’s Clifton Slagel threw a one-hitter and struck out 17 while issuing no walks against the Generals on Thursday. The hit came with two outs in the ninth inning as Ranko Stevanovic broke up the no-hit bid. RHP Jake Diaz, a 2016 St. Laurence graduate who has spent the last two seasons at Moraine Valley CC, will get the ball for the Generals on Saturday.
About the Matchup
This marks the first ever meeting between the two teams as the Generals have joined the Midwest Collegiate League, replacing the now defunct Joliet Admirals. The Oilmen are very familiar with Wayne L. King Junior Field, however, as the Generals become the fifth different team the Oilmen have played at that venue. The Admirals and Illinois Lincolns are former MCL teams that hosted the Oilmen there, while the Oilmen also played on this field in Game 3 of the 2016 MCL Championship against the DuPage County Hounds. The Will County CrackerJacks called Wayne L. King Junior Field home in 2011, so this surface has seen no shortage of MCL baseball over the years.
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