06/06/2018 1:22 PM
Crestwood Panthers (0-4)
at Northwest Indiana Oilmen (1-5)
June 6, 2018 • 7:10 p.m. • Whiting, Ind.
Broadcast: Oilmen Broadcasting Network (Facebook Live)
NWI RHP Max Franklin (Heartland CC / Chicago Heights, Ill.) vs. Crestwood RHP Christian Poulsen (Maryville College / Schaumburg, Ill.)
It’s a battle of teams looking to get the early portion of their season turned around on Wednesday night at Oil City Stadium. Both teams are in need of a win as the Crestwood Panthers have started their 2018 campaign with four consecutive defeats, while the Northwest Indiana Oilmen find themselves in the midst of a five-game losing streak and at just 1-5 on the season. The Oilmen need to win on Wednesday to avoid matching the worst seven-game start in franchise history, a mark previously set in 2016. The Oilmen dropped six of their first seven that season before rebounding to win the MCL title.
Inside the Oilmen
The Oilmen have lost five consecutive games, their longest losing streak since late June 2012, also a season the Oilmen went on to win the MCL title. They need to beat Crestwood on Wednesday to avoid equaling that 2012 stretch for the longest skid in franchise history. Throwing strikes has been an early-season obstacle for the Oilmen pitching staff, as Oilmen pitching has issued 44 walks in 50 innings, the second most in the league behind only the Panthers. NWI’s team ERA of 6.48 also ranks ahead of only Crestwood. The Oilmen were hurt by 12 walks and one error in Tuesday’s 10-4 loss to DuPage County. NWI has allowed the opposition to score seven runs or more in an inning in three consecutive games. One bright spot for the Oilmen has been Nick Figus (.563 AVG, .708 OBP), who leads the league in both of those categories. Brandon Petkoff has cranked out three straight multi-hit outputs to start his Oilmen career, including two hits on Tuesday. He is hitting .438 and has driven in two. Chris Baker has four of the team’s eight extra-base hits (all doubles). No other Oilman has more than one. Max Franklin starts on the mound on Wednesday after taking the loss in his first outing when he allowed five runs (two earned) on five hits and five walks in four innings at Southland on Friday, June 1.
Inside the Panthers
The good news for the Oilmen is that the one team they’ve defeated this year comes to Oil City Stadium on Wednesday, after NWI started the campaign by beating Crestwood 15-4 at Howie Minas Field on Monday, May 28. The bad news, however, is that the Panthers come in hungry for a win after a pair of close losses. They fell 10-8 at DuPage County on Saturday before suffering a 3-2 setback at home to Bloomington on Tuesday. That game saw both teams do all of their scoring in the seventh inning. Reggie Brock Jr. and Christian Poulsen had three hits apiece. Poulsen will get the start on the mound on Wednesday, his second start of the summer. He received no decision after giving up four runs on seven hits and one walk while striking out six in his debut on May 29 at Southland, a game that was suspended due to darkness with the two teams tied 6-6. Crestwood has a .230 team batting average and 7.98 ERA.
About the Matchup
The Oilmen own a 10-2 edge in the all-time series, which began last season when Crestwood joined the MCL. NWI won the first meeting of the year. After Wednesday, the two teams will meet again on June 12 in Crestwood.
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