06/20/2018 9:16 AM
Northwest Indiana Oilmen (9-8)
at Joliet Generals (7-9)
June 20, 2018 • 5 p.m. • Joliet, Ill.
Broadcast: Oilmen Broadcasting Network (Facebook Live)
NWI LHP Brandon Hickey (Robert Morris / Monee, Ill.) vs. Joliet RHP Carter Lawler (Illinois Springfield / Hampshire, Ill.)
After concluding a stretch of seven games in six days on Sunday with a doubleheader sweep of Crestwood, the Oilmen were rained out on Tuesday at Southland. They enter Wednesday’s game at Joliet riding a five-game winning streak, their longest of the season after owning a pair of seven-game winning streaks last July during a torrid stretch that saw NWI win 14 of 15. The Oilmen have climbed above .500 for the first time this season. The 17 games were the longest it has ever taken the Oilmen to climb above the .500 line in a campaign.
Inside the Oilmen
Nick Figus was named the MCL Player of the Week on Monday for his efforts during a 6-1 week for the Oilmen. He becomes the first NWI player to win an MCL weekly award this season. Figus hit .381 last week highlighted by four hits and a home run in a victory over his former team, the Bloomington Bobcats. He leads the MCL in batting average at .444 and ranks second in on-base percentage at .583. Nate Montgomery ripped his fourth home run of the season in NWI’s come-from-behind win over Crestwood on Sunday in the second game of the doubleheader. That allowed him to move into sole possession of the MCL lead with four home runs, overtaking Joliet’s Jeremiah Lebron (3). The only other players with multiple are Crestwood’s Cole Blatchford and NWI’s Tyler Kenjic, who hit his second on Sunday. On only June 17, Nate Montgomery already moved into sole possession of second in franchise history for home runs in both a single season and in a career. Only Tyler Sroczynski (13, 2015-2017) has more career home runs than Montgomery, and Sroczynski also holds the single-season record with seven in 2016. The Oilmen have 10 home runs in the first 17 games of the season. The franchise record for home runs by the team in a season is 17 in 2015. The Oilmen have already hit more home runs than they did in the 2013 and 2014 seasons and have equaled their home run total from 2012. The Oilmen lead the league with 10 home runs, while the other five teams have 14 combined. Brandon Hickey (0-1, 0.64 ERA) will take the ball for his fourth start of the summer. He has allowed just one earned run in 14 innings while racking up a league-leading 22 strikeouts. He has struck out seven or more in each of his three starts.
Inside the Generals
The Generals have been led offensively by Jeremiah Lebron, who is second in the league behind Nate Montgomery in home runs with three. He has driven in 14 runs and owns a .407 batting average. Bryce Cross has been another key hitter with a .379 average and 12 RBIs. Carter Lawler, who is 1-0 with a 4.73 ERA, will oppose the Oilmen. He has issued seven walks and struck out 16 in 13 1/3 innings of work. All three of his appearances (two starts) have come against the Bloomington Bobcats. Joliet stopped a four-game skid with a 13-0 victory over Crestwood on Tuesday.
About the Matchup
Joliet won the first two meetings of the season in high-scoring fashion, coming from behind the beat the Oilmen 14-12 on June 2 in Joliet before registering a 16-11 win on June 8 at Oil City Stadium. Northwest Indiana picked up its first head-to-head win over the Generals, a first-year franchise, 8-4 last Thursday in Whiting. Eight of the nine Oilmen batters had hits in a Kids Day victory that saw the home team jump in front with a four-run first inning.
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