07/12/2020 8:13 AM
Joliet Generals (1-5)
at Northwest Indiana Oilmen (5-2)
July 12, 2020 • 4:10 p.m. • Whiting, Ind. • Oil City Stadium
Broadcast: Oilmen Broadcasting Network (Facebook Live)
Fresh off a dramatic, walk-off victory over rival Southland on Saturday night, the Northwest Indiana Oilmen will attempt to make it back-to-back wins as Joliet comes to town for a Sunday matinee. The Oilmen will look to repeat their success from a pair of matchups with the Generals last week.
Pitching Matchup – Northwest Indiana LHP Connor Oliver (Wichita State [Wabash Valley] / Oak Forest, Ill.) vs. Joliet RHP Matt Donahue (Roosevelt / Palos Heights, Ill.)
- After a one-run setback on Friday night in a 3-2 loss to Crestwood, the Northwest Indiana Oilmen were on the opposite end of the slimmest of margins on Saturday evening. They pushed across a ninth-inning run to walk-off with a 4-3 victory over rival Southland, creating the winning rally in an inning that started modestly with two outs and nobody on base.
- Kendal Ewell joined the ranks of Oilmen to notch a walk-off hit, helping NWI walk off for the first time since Aug. 3, 2019, when Gabe Pulido provided his second game-ending RBI in a three-game span, ripping one off the scoreboard in left to help the Oilmen beat Crestwood 7-6.
- Oddly enough, Saturday’s walk-off win came on the seven-year anniversary of another dramatic Oilmen/Vikings matchup that ended with the home team walking off at Oil City Stadium. Chris Cunningham was in the other dugout for an Anthony Bova’s walk-off squeeze bunt that gave the Oilmen a 3-2 win in 2013.
- The Oilmen own a 41-15 lead in the all-time series with Joliet, including games when the franchise was known as the Admirals. The Oilmen are 2-0 against the Generals this season, winning those matchups by a combined score of 25-4.
- The Oilmen will start with southpaw Connor Oliver, who will pitch opposite the Generals for the second time this season. He started and got the win on July 5, working three innings and yielding three runs (one earned) on five hits and two walks. He’ll work against Matt Donahue, a righty who worked two perfect innings in his season debut on Friday night against Southland.
- Tyler Nelson’s .522 batting average remains second in the league behind Jackson Dvorak’s .556. Nelson and Oilmen catcher Angelo Cantelo are part of a four-way tie for second in the MCL with seven RBIs apiece, but Justin Rios of Southland leads the way with 15.
- Tre’ Hondras has scored seven runs, tied for third in the league behind only a pair of former Oilmen – Dashon Moore (Southland, 12) and Jackson Dvorak (DuPage County, 13).
- The Oilmen have a .270 team batting average that ranks second in the league behind DuPage County (.278), while NWI’s league-best 2.07 ERA is over two full runs better than the second place team in that area, the Hounds at 4.28.
- 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.