06/05/2018 12:26 PM
DuPage County Hounds (5-0)
at Northwest Indiana Oilmen (1-4)
June 5, 2018 • 7:10 p.m. • Whiting, Ind.
Broadcast: Oilmen Broadcasting Network (Facebook Live)
NWI LHP Brandon Hickey (Robert Morris / Monee, Ill.) vs. DuPage County RHP Matt Verdun (Lewis / Homer Glen, Ill.)
It’s Opening Night at Oil City Stadium as the Northwest Indiana Oilmen begin their seventh season of baseball in Whiting. The Oilmen are 3-3 all-time in home openers, most recently suffering a 7-4 loss to the Southland Vikings on Opening Night a year ago. The Oilmen and Hounds have both been members of the MCL since the two teams began in 2012, but this marks the first time the two squads have faced off in the Oilmen home opener.
Inside the Oilmen
A team that has been an MCL powerhouse since its inception seven years ago finds itself in an unfamiliar position entering this week – toward the bottom of the standing. The Oilmen dropped four of the five games on the season-opening road trip, most recently falling 12-7 at Bloomington on Sunday. The Oilmen led in both games this weekend before big innings allowed the Generals and Bobcats to garner come-from-behind, high-scoring victories. Although the Oilmen are on a whole not used to being toward the bottom of the standings, they have been here at this juncture of the season before. In fact, they started 2016 at 1-6 and went on to win the MCL title. The Oilmen are led by Nick Figus, who is hitting a robust .538 and has an even better on-base percentage of .684. Southpaw Brandon Hickey takes the mound on Tuesday. In his first start of the summer, he went four shutout innings and yielded just two hits while striking out seven and walking two on Tuesday, May 29 at Bloomington. He received no decision.
Inside the Hounds
Ben Caple is back for his fourth season at the helm of the Hounds, a team that has been traditionally one of the league’s strongest clubs. DuPage County is up to its old winning ways this season, starting the year with a 5-0 record. Stephen Mogged was named the MCL Batter of the Week on Tuesday after racking up seven RBIs and scoring eight runs while hitting .400 and posting a .538 on-base percentage over the first week of the season. Matt Verdun (7-for-14), and Danny Gleaves (7-for-15) are also hitting .400 or better through the first week of the season. Verdun is a two-way player who will get the start on the mound on Tuesday. He allowed two runs on three hits and one walk while striking out six over four innings in his season debut against Joliet on Tuesday, May 29.
About the Matchup
This is the first meeting of the 2018 season between the Oilmen and the Hounds. The last time these two teams met was on July 25, 2017 at Oil City Stadium. At the time, both teams were in a race for first place heading into the MCL playoffs. DuPage grabbed a 5-1 victory, but was unable to get the top spot in the league and entered the postseason as the No. 2 seed. Both teams ended the regular season with 34-18 records, but lost their first-round playoff matchups. One historically notable series between the two teams was the 2016 MCL Championship. Northwest Indiana won Game 3 7-1 over the Hounds to clinch their second MCL title in franchise history. The Oilmen also hold a slight edge head-to-head overall against DuPage County at 28-27 in an evenly-matched all-time series.
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