07/16/2020 9:48 AM
DuPage County Hounds (8-2)
at Northwest Indiana Oilmen (7-3)
July 16, 2020 • 7:10 p.m. • Whiting, Ind. • Oil City Stadium
Broadcast: Oilmen Broadcasting Network (Facebook Live)
The Northwest Indiana Oilmen will look to match their longest winning streak of the season as they attempt to string together their third straight victory on Thursday night at Oil City Stadium. DuPage County comes to town for an important showdown in the MCL standings as the Oilmen are one game behind the Hounds, who are in a virtual tie with Southland for the MCL lead.
Pitching Matchup – Northwest Indiana RHP Joe Rotkis (Morehead State / Granger, Ind.) vs. DuPage County LHP Seth Masters (University of Illinois-Springfield / Orland Park, Ill.)
- The Oilmen played long ball on Wednesday as Kendal Ewell launched a three-run homer in the first and Clay Thompson a two-run bomb in the second. That marked the first time the Oilmen had multiple home runs in a game since they had five in Game 3 of the 2019 MCL Semifinals, an 11-10 victory over Southland at St. Rita.
- The Oilmen now have four home runs on the season, tied with Crestwood for second in the MCL behind DuPage County’s league-leading five.
- Jack Guzek continued his early-season success on Wednesday, turning in his third straight scoreless start. He has not allowed a run in 13 innings this season, making him the only player in the league who has worked 10 or more innings and not allowed a run. He joins Southland’s Joe Tor (9 1/3 IP) as the only players with six or more innings who have not yielded a single tally yet this summer.
- The Oilmen have a chance to even up the all-time series against the rival Hounds on Thursday night as DuPage County owns a slim 38-37 lead in a battle that dates back to 2012, the first year of both franchises. That includes an 11-1 victory for the Oilmen in the first matchup this season.
- Joe Rotkis takes the ball for Chris Cunningham’s squad on Thursday, looking to improve on his strong start to the summer that has seen him allowed two runs (one earned) on just four hits while striking out 12 and walking only one over nine innings. He logged four frames on July 5 vs. Joliet and five on July 10 vs. Crestwood, both of those coming in relief. This will mark his first start of the summer.
- Seth Masters takes the ball for DuPage County after having allowed just one earned run in 7 1/3 innings this season for a 1.23 ERA over his first three outings. The southpaw is in his second season with the Hounds.
- The Oilmen/Hounds matchup will feature a pair of ex-Oilmen in the opposing dugout. Jackson Dvorak has made his way to DuPage County after three seasons with Northwest Indiana. Now in his fifth MCL summer after also playing for the Joliet Admirals in 2016, Dvorak leads the league with a .528 average and has three home runs while nobody else in the MCL has more than one. The other former Oilman now playing for Ben Caple is Brandon Petkoff, who is hitting .333 with one home run and eighth RBIs after two seasons with NWI.
- 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.