07/02/2018 11:31 AM
DuPage County Hounds (18-7)
at NWI Oilmen (16-10)
July 2, 2018 • 7:10 p.m. • Whiting, Ind.
Broadcast: Oilmen Broadcasting Network (Facebook Live)
NWI RHP Connor Spear (UW Whitewater / Highland, Ind.) vs. DuPage County RHP Brett Taucher (SIU Edwardsville / Elk Grove, Ill.)
A busy stretch of baseball keeps going for the Northwest Indiana Oilmen, who will continue a stretch of nine games in seven days without a day off. Monday’s game is a makeup from a rainout on June 22, the first of four makeup games over the next eight days and six over the next two weeks. However, staying active may not be a bad thing for an Oilmen team that has won four straight games and holds a 12-2 record after starting 4-8. Monday is a big game in the standings as the Oilmen are one game behind Southland for second place and 2 ½ in back of the first-place Hounds. Pitching reigned supreme in Sunday’s doubleheader sweep of Joliet, as the Oilmen held the Generals to two runs in each game, and all four tallies on the day were unearned. Christian Howell delivered Northwest Indiana’s most dominant start of the season, racking up 11 strikeouts (one shy of Max Franklin’s single-game Oilmen record) in six scoreless innings while yielding just three hits and no walks. Howell has been the winning pitcher in all four of his starts this season. The Oilmen struck out 24 Joliet batters over the two seven-inning contests.
Inside the Oilmen
NWI will turn to right-hander Connor Spear for Monday’s game against DuPage County. Spear has logged 16 innings and owns a 3.94 ERA over six games this season. He has yet to pitch against the Hounds. This will mark his second start of the year and first since June 3, when he allowed six earned runs on four hits and four walks while striking out eight in 5 2/3 innings at Bloomington. Spear has issued 13 walks and struck out 13 this summer. Jackson Dvorak has entered a tie for the league lead in doubles with seven. He’s joined by a pair of Hounds – Dane Toppel and David Guiliano. Chris Baker is the league leader in walks with 21, while Nate Montgomery still owns a one-bomb edge on Joliet’s Jeremiah Lebron for the league lead in long balls.
Inside the Hounds
DuPage County leads the league in team batting average at .302, while the Oilmen are second at .278. The Hounds boast the league’s leading hitter in David Guiliano, who has his average up to .451 with a .521 OBP and 22 RBIs. Guiliano has strung together seven straight multi-hit games. Dane Toppel leads the league with 26 RBIs, while NWI’s Nate Montgomery is second with 23. The MCL’s Top 5 in RBIs will participate in Monday’s game, with four of them coming from DuPage County. The Hounds will send out Brett Taucher, who is 3-1 with a 5.59 ERA in five games, four starts. He has walked 18 and struck out 25 in 19 1/3 innings.
About the Matchup
These two teams will see a lot of each other down the stretch, as they’ve played just three times thus far. This is the first of four makeup games between the Oilmen and Hounds in the month of July. All three meetings have taken place at Oil City Stadium, with DuPage County winning two of the first three. Most recently, the Hounds handed the Oilmen a 5-2 defeat last Thursday with DuPage’s Danny Gleaves and NWI’s Jake Plastiak notching three hits apiece. That victory allowed the Hounds to cause a 29-29 stalemate in an all-time series that dates back to 2012.
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