07/06/2020 9:24 AM
Joliet Generals (0-2)
at Northwest Indiana Oilmen (2-0)
July 6, 2020 • 7:10 p.m. • Whiting, Ind. • Oil City Stadium
Broadcast: Oilmen Broadcasting Network (Facebook Live)
A stretch of three consecutive home contests to open up the 2020 summer season for the Northwest Indiana Oilmen concludes on Monday night at Oil City Stadium. After rolling to a 14-4 victory over Joliet on Sunday, the Oilmen and Generals will face off once again on Monday evening.
Pitching Matchup – Northwest Indiana LHP Luke Pappas (Western Michigan / Chicago, Ill.) vs. Joliet RHP Andrew Hancock (Central Missouri / New Lenox, Ill.)
- With Sunday’s 10-run win over the Generals, the Oilmen are off to their first 2-0 start since the 2015 season. This marks the third time in franchise history that the Oilmen have started a year with back-to-back wins, a feat that was also reached in 2014.
- A victory on Monday would allow the Oilmen to match the franchise record for consecutive wins to start a season. That accomplishment was reached during the 2015 season, when the team got off to a 3-0 start under first-year manager Adam Enright. Chris Cunningham is hoping to equal that feat in his first season with a win on Monday.
- Michael Machnic finished a triple away from the cycle on Sunday, racking up six RBIs, which was one shy of an Oilmen single-game record set by Nick Bartalone back in 2013.
- Machnic launched a grand slam in his first plate appearance in an Oilmen uniform, which turned a 3-0 deficit into a 4-3 lead that the squad wouldn’t relinquish in the win over the Generals. It was the first Oilmen grand slam since Tyler Kenjic on June 6, 2018 vs. Crestwood. Machnic became the second Oilmen player to hit a grand slam in his Oil City Stadium debut, joining Chris Baker on June 8, 2016 against the Lakers. Other grand slams in Oilmen history include Craig Dedelow on the final day of the 2014 regular season against the Snipes, Brandon Krieg in 2012, Noah Davis in 2017 and Billy Miller in a 2012 playoff game against the DuPage County Hounds. Machnic’s was just the seventh grand slam in the nine-year history of the Oilmen.
- By appearing in his first game of the season on Sunday, Tommy Farrell became the third player in team history to see action in four different seasons. That elite group also consists of catcher Zack Jones (2014-2017) and pitcher Christian Howell (2015-2018).
- Left-handed pitcher Luke Pappas is slated to make his Oilmen debut on Monday night, while Joliet probable starter Andrew Hancock is a former member of the Oilmen pitching staff. The right-hander worked 11 1/3 innings during the 2018 season and logged a 6.35 ERA over four appearances, including one start. He walked 17 and struck out 10 with current Joliet manager Matt Vitulli serving as an assistant coach on that Oilmen staff.
- The Oilmen improved to 40-15 all-time against Joliet, including games when they were known as the Generals, with Sunday’s victory.
- Ex-Oilman Amir Wright is part of a quartet of Northwest Indiana natives on the Joliet roster that also includes his younger brother Anson Wright. Amir is a 2016 Griffith graduate, while Anson graduated from Griffith in 2019. The other Northwest Indiana natives are both left-handed pitchers – Nick Hamilton (Munster ’19) and Noah Mathias (LaPorte ‘18), the latter of whom pitched for the Crestwood Panthers last season.
- Anthony Hernandez logged 21 innings with the Oilmen over 16 games during the 2019 season, posting a 3.86 ERA. He saw action out of the Generals’ bullpen on Sunday.
- Amir Wright was a member of the MCL All-League team after posting a slash line of .352/.484/.488 with NWI in 2017. He returned to the Oilmen for a nine-game stint in 2018 and hit .441. The Generals are Wright’s third MCL team, as he hit .352 with the Southland Vikings in 2016.
- The 2020 Oilmen roster features representatives from numerous Division-I institutions including the following conferences: Big 10, American, Ohio Valley Conference, Missouri Valley Conference, Horizon League, Mid-American Conference, Summit League and the ACC.
- The Big Ten is well represented on this year’s roster, with players from five different conference members on the squad – Indiana, Purdue, Ohio State, Michigan and Iowa.
- This marks the Oilmen’s first season under the direction of Chris Cunningham, who is the fourth manager in team history. Cunningham is no stranger to the MCL, as the former professional ballplayer in the Tampa Bay Rays organization managed the Southland Vikings from 2011-2014. In his final two seasons, the Vikings won back-to-back MCL championships.
- Oilmen legend Matt Pobereyko is serving as the team’s pitching coach this season. He racked up an MCL-record 18 career saves in 2013 and 2014 including a single-season MCL record 13 in his final campaign with the Oilmen. Pobereyko is an active professional pitcher and has reached as high as Triple-A.
- As usual, the Oilmen are loaded with local talent. Three Oilmen players graduated from Andrean High School, one from Highland, three from Griffith, one from Valparaiso, two from Munster and two from Lake Central. Expanding to Illinois high schools, two Oilmen competed at Brother Rice, one at Oak Forest, one at Marist, one at Marian Catholic, three at Homewood-Flossmoor, one at Carl Sandburg, one at St. Rita and one at St. Laurence.