07/12/2018 9:05 AM
NWI Oilmen (19-16)
at Southland Vikings (18-8)
July 12, 2018 • 5 p.m. • Chicago Heights, Ill.
Broadcast: Oilmen Broadcasting Network (Facebook Live)
NWI LHP Alex Voss (Butler / South Bend, Ind.) vs. Southland RHP Hunter Kraynak (Cedarville / Portage, Ind.)
The Northwest Indiana Oilmen enjoyed an extra-inning victory on Wednesday, beating the Bobcats in bonus frames for the second time this week by pulling out a 7-5 victory in 10. Sawyer Allen settled in after a four-run second and sent down 11 straight batters, Connor Spear worked out of a key inherited jam and Pedro Rodriguez picked up the win in relief by limiting the damage to one run in the ninth and putting up a zero in the 10th. The Oilmen slugged their way back into a game again, using homers by Jake Plastiak and Nate Montgomery to help erase a three-run deficit. The Oilmen are up to 19 home runs as a team this season, as the first of their two on Wednesday allowed them to shatter the previous team record of 17 established in 2015.
Inside the Oilmen
Zaid Walker remained a storyline on Wednesday, as the talented Oilmen outfielder turned in his best performance yet. He racked up a season-high four hits for his fifth straight multi-hit game, all of them against the Bobcats. He is hitting .700 during this five-game stretch of only appearing against Bloomington. Walker has made his way to the top of the Oilmen leaderboard in batting average at .479 in 54 plate appearances. Speaking of success against a specific foe, the pitching equivalent of Walker feasting on Bobcat pitching has been Alex Voss against the Southland Vikings. The young southpaw will face the Vikings for the third straight start on Thursday and has allowed just one earned run in 13 innings over the first two. For the season, Voss has an 0.96 ERA and 2-0 record in 18 2/3 innings over five games, two starts.
Inside the Vikings
After notching an unorthodox 9-0 victory (win by forfeit) over Crestwood on Wednesday, Southland is up to 10 games over .500. The Panthers played with only nine players, and when one was injured in the fourth inning they were forced to forfeit. With the top three teams in the MCL all winning on Wednesday, Southland is still 1 ½ behind first-place DuPage County and 3 ½ up on the third-place Oilmen. The Vikings will send Hunter Kraynak to the mound on Thursday. The righty from Cedarville was high school teammates with NWI’s Hunter Thorn at Portage and also played junior college ball with Nate Montgomery at South Suburban. Kraynak has worked only 2 1/3 innings this season over three games in relief. He holds an ERA of 3.00 and has walked one and struck out two. The Oilmen saw him in his season debut, a scoreless inning with two strikeouts on June 30 at Oil City Stadium.
About the Matchup
The Oilmen have won three straight head-to-head meetings with the Vikings, with Voss getting the start in each of the last two. NWI holds a 33-31 edge in the all-time series with Southland, while the season series is tied 3-3 with the Oilmen rapping off three wins in a row after starting the year 0-3. The most recent matchup was an instant classic last Friday at Oil City Stadium that saw a Chris Baker walk-off single lift the Oilmen to a 4-3 victory. A Cory Krolikowski home run in the seventh pulled the Oilmen within one before Nick Figus tied it with the long ball in the eighth. Voss did not allow an earned run over six innings.
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