07/22/2018 9:38 PM
DuPage County Hounds (28-11)
at NWI Oilmen (21-17)
July 23, 2018 • 7:10 p.m. • Whiting, Ind.
Broadcast: Oilmen Broadcasting Network (Facebook Live)
NWI RHP Max Franklin (Heartland / Chicago Heights, Ill.) vs. DuPage County LHP Alex Luka (Babson / Downers Grove, Ill.)
After spending the past week facing international competition in the IBC and finishing as the tournament runner-up, the Northwest Indiana Oilmen return to regular season play on Monday as they welcome the DuPage County Hounds to Oil City Stadium. This starts a Hound-heavy final week of the regular season that will see the Oilmen and Hounds face off four times. The Oilmen enter the week 6 ½ games behind the first-place Hounds, but still have mathematical hope for the MCL regular-season title. They would likely have to win all four head-to-head matchups this week and have additional results go in their favor. The Oilmen are also battling Southland for second place in the MCL standings and the home field advantage in the first round of the playoffs that comes along with it. The Oilmen enter the week 1 ½ games behind the Vikings.
Inside the Oilmen
Nick Figus leads the league in triples with three, while Nate Montgomery has the MCL lead with five home runs and Jackson Dvorak is tied for the league lead with nine doubles. The Oilmen have already set the team record for home runs in a single season with 19. Figus is tied for fourth in Oilmen history for triples in a single season with three. Montgomery’s five homers rank second to Tyler Sroczynski’s seven in 2016. Montgomery’s .544 slugging percentage is third in franchise history. Figus has been hit by a pitch 11 times, already second to only Noah Davis, who was nailed 17 times last year. Figus has an on-base percentage of .507. If he can keep it above .500, he’ll shatter a record that has stood since Cody Dykema and John Loeffer shared the team lead in 2012. Max Franklin gets the nod on Monday for his seventh start of the year. He is 3-1 with a 3.54 ERA and has walked 18 while striking out 35.
Inside the Hounds
The Oilmen received no help from the rest of the MCL during their week away from league competition, as DuPage County went 3-0 to extend a winning streak that started a week ago against the Oilmen to four. After blanking NWI 7-0 on Monday, the Hounds picked up close wins over Southland, Bloomington and Joliet to continue to pad their cushion atop the MCL standings. The Hounds and Vikings were slated to oppose one another on Sunday, but unplayable field conditions at Hap Bruno led to the contest’s cancellation. The Hounds boast the top two players in the league in RBIs – Dane Toppel (36) and Kennedy Phillips (32). DuPage County’s David Giuliano (26) is tied for third with Nate Montgomery (26). The Hounds also have the top four players in run scored in Stephen Mogged (35), Dane Toppel (33), Danny Gleaves (32) and Matt Collins (32). Lefty Alex Luka has a 3.20 ERA and spotless 5-0 record in seven games this summer. He has worked 25 1/3 innings and walked seven while striking out 18.
About the Matchup
The Hounds have won four of the first six meetings between the two teams this season, but the season series will ride on the four matchups this week. This is the seventh showdown between the two teams and the sixth at Oil City Stadium. The Oilmen will travel to Lemont on three of the final four days of the regular season – visiting the Hounds on Thursday, Friday and Sunday. The all-time series favors the Hounds 31-30.
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