07/17/2018 2:29 AM -
Lemont, Ill. – July 16, 2018 – Seven early runs for DuPage County proved to be enough as the Hounds coasted to a 7-0 shutout victory over the Northwest Indiana Oilmen on a hot summer evening at the Lemont High School Sports Complex.
The Hounds were able to capitalize off of an erratic performance from Oilmen left-hander Anthony Robles (College of DuPage / Oak Lawn, Ill.). Over his two innings pitched, Robles never got into a rhythm on the rubber, walking four and hitting two. DuPage County touched the starter for four hits and seven earned runs to account for all of the scoring in Monday’s contest.
On the other end of the spectrum, the first-place Hounds got a stellar start out of Michigan State product, Zac Bianucci. Scattering only six hits, Bianucci tossed eight shutout innings, striking out three and walking one.
“He limited baserunners,” acting Oilmen manager Matt Vitulli said of Bianucci. “He made us get ourselves out. We had eight hits. They had six hits; and, the score was 7-0. If you can limit baserunners, allowing a single here and there, those singles won’t hurt you.”
Despite a poor start, the Oilmen bullpen did everything they could to give their offense a chance to get back into the game. From the bottom of the third on, Connor Spear (UW Whitewater / Highland, Ind.) and Brendan Kelly (Purdue Northwest / Grandville, Mich.) shut down the Hounds’ offense.
Spear, the reigning MCL Pitcher of the Week, continued to dazzle in relief. Entering the game after Robles’ exit, the right-hander pitched four shutout innings against DuPage County for the second time in four days, surrendering only two hits and striking out six.
Kelly followed Spear’s example in the seventh and eighth. In his two hitless innings of work, Kelly threw only 15 pitches and faced the minimum.
“There weren’t too many positives this game but one of them was our bullpen guys coming out and throwing strikes. Consistency has been the key for both of those guys this summer,” Vitulli said.
Amir Wright (St. Leo / Griffith, Ind.) was one of the only Oilmen hitters seeing the ball well on Monday. Now hitting .471 over his first five games with the Oilmen in 2018, Wright had three clean singles off of Bianucci. Jake Perreira (University of Indianapolis / Grant Park, Ill.) had two hits, accounting for the only other multi-hit day for Northwest Indiana.
Over the next six days, the Oilmen will take a break from league play and compete in the International Baseball Challenge at Oil City Stadium. The Oilmen, playing as team North America, will take on teams from Serbia, Slovakia, and Croatia.
“They’ll still be playing but it’s a little different than league games. There’s a lot less pressure and a lot less mental stress. I think it will be very good for the guys to have some fun,” Vitulli said.
The next MCL game for the Oilmen (21-17) will be against the DuPage County Hounds (25-11) next Monday at Oil City Stadium. First pitch is slated for 7:10 p.m. CT. The game will be airing on the Oilmen Broadcasting Network via Facebook Live.