07/24/2020 10:38 AM
MCL Minutemen (5-12)
at Northwest Indiana Oilmen (11-5)
July 24, 2020 • 7:10 p.m. • Whiting, Ind. • Oil City Stadium
Broadcast: Oilmen Broadcasting Network (Facebook Live)
The Northwest Indiana Oilmen already own two victories over the MCL Minutemen this week, but they’ll attempt to defend their home field and bounce back from Thursday’s defeat as they match up with the Minutemen once again at Oil City Stadium. Friday’s game marks the fourth time in the last five games that the Oilmen are pitted against the Minutemen, part of a quirk in the schedule coupled with a pair of rainouts.
Pitching Matchup – Northwest Indiana RHP Kyle Iwinski (Kankakee CC / Griffith, Ind.) vs. RHP Jacob Frencl (Southeastern CC / Frankfort, Ill.)
- The Northwest Indiana Oilmen committed a franchise-record nine errors in Friday’s 12-4 defeat to the Crestwood Panthers. The setback saw the Oilmen slip into a tie for first place with DuPage County while Southland is just a game off the pace and Crestwood has climbed to within three games of the top spot in the MCL.
- The DuPage County Hounds do not play on Friday, so the Oilmen outcome will dictate which team sits atop the MCL standings entering Saturday’s matchup between the two squads at Oil City Stadium.
- The Oilmen lead the season series 4-1. This is already the sixth meeting with the Minutemen, while the Oilmen have not faced any other opponent more than three times. The last four matchups have been blowouts, with the Oilmen recording a pair of 11-1 wins and a 12-1 triumph while the Minutemen came into Oil City Stadium and won 11-2 last week.
- The Oilmen beat the Minutemen by a combined score of 23-2 over two games earlier this week, but those scores are deceiving. The Oilmen held a slim 2-1 edge entering the eighth inning on Monday and that same 2-1 advantage going to the ninth on Wednesday.
- Before Friday’s defeat, the Oilmen held their best record through 15 games since the 2013 season, when they also started 11-4. The best 15-game start in club history came in the inaugural season of 2012, when the squad jumped out to a 12-3 mark.
- The Oilmen have not incurred back-to-back losses all season. They hope to improve to 5-0 following defeats on Friday night.
- This marks the third Miller Lite Pint Night at Oil City Stadium this summer. The first two have been tight ballgames with the Oilmen falling 3-2 to Crestwood on July 10 before an unforgettable 7-6 victory over Southland a week ago.
- Kyle Iwinski will make his fourth appearance and second start of the season on Friday night. The right hander owns a 1.64 ERA in 11 innings of work while walking four and striking out 12. He last pitched on July 17 against the Vikings, allowing three runs (two earned) on five hits in four frames.
- Jacob Frencl has become a familiar face to Oilmen fans as the Minutemen starter has received the ball for each of the team’s first two trips to Whiting this season and will do so again on Friday. Overall, he’ll be making his fourth start and owns a 3.45 ERA in 15 2/3 innings with a 1-2 mark. He was the winner with five frames of two-run, six-hit ball last Saturday at the OC.
- Manager Jack Murphy’s squad is coming off a 6-3 loss to DuPage County on Thursday.
- 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.