07/23/2020 10:48 AM
Crestwood Panthers (7-8)
at Northwest Indiana Oilmen (11-4)
July 23, 2020 • 7:10 p.m. • Whiting, Ind. • Oil City Stadium
Broadcast: Oilmen Broadcasting Network (Facebook Live)
The Northwest Indiana Oilmen and Crestwood Panthers both enter Thursday’s game playing solid baseball of late, as the Oilmen will look to extend their winning streak to three while the Panthers have surged into the middle of the pack in the Midwest Collegiate League standings.
Pitching Matchup – Northwest Indiana RHP Joe Rotkis (Morehead State / Granger, Ind.) vs. RHP Brady Miller (Western Michigan / Plainfield, Ill.)
- The Northwest Indiana Oilmen enjoyed their second 10-run inning of the season in the top of the ninth on Wednesday, turning a tight 2-1 edge into a 12-1 blowout over the MCL Minutemen at Howie Minas Field. The team returns to its home ballpark having won five of its last six entering Thursday’s matchup.
- Starting pitcher Jack Guzek’s near perfection continued on Wednesday, when he worked five shutout innings of four-hit ball while walking one and striking out seven. The reining MCL Pitcher of the Week has 24 strikeouts against just three walks this summer and has not permitted a run in 18 innings of work.
- Guzek has clearly been as good as it gets as far as Oilmen pitching in concerned, but Thursday’s starter Joe Rotkis isn’t far behind. The right hander owns a 1.20 ERA over 15 innings spanning three outings, including a six-inning start on July 16 against DuPage County where he allowed one run on five hits. Rotkis has fanned 17 and walked just two this season.
- The Panthers will send Brady Miller to the mound for his third appearance of the summer. He has allowed three earned runs on one hit and two walks in four innings over two games in relief and will make his first start.
- Tyler Nelson (.404) ranks third in the league in batting average among those who qualify behind Jackson Dvorak (.423) and Tommy Benson (.419).
- Nelson’s 14 runs scored rank third in the league behind Dvorak (15) and Dashon Moore (18).
- Crestwood’s Ray Hillbrich is the league leader in doubles with eight. Nobody else has more than five.
- Angelo Cantelo’s 12 RBIs rank third in the league behind only a pair of Southland Vikings – Justin Rios (18) and Jake Schroeder (16).
- Clay Thompson is tied for the league lead in walks with 10. He is joined by Anthony Rios (Southland), Dashon Moore (Southland) and Ryan Howe (Minutemen).
- The Oilmen still lead the league in team ERA at 2.41. DuPage County is second at 4.47.
- Guzek’s 24 strikeouts are second among MCL pitchers, behind only Jake Karaba’s 26.
- The Oilmen are 24-4 all-time against the Panthers and 1-1 this season.
- 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.