08/11/2020 9:53 AM
Northwest Indiana Oilmen (21-11)
at Joliet Generals (6-23)
Aug. 11, 2020 • 3 p.m. • Howie Minas Field • Midlothian, Ill.
Broadcast: Oilmen Broadcasting Network (Facebook Live)
After strong storms disrupted the plan to play baseball on Monday, the Northwest Indiana Oilmen are back at it on Tuesday afternoon against the Joliet Generals at Howie Minas Field. The two teams may be at opposite ends of the standings, but the Oilmen know better than to take anything for granted after needing a late comeback and a heroic home run by Conner Tomasic to beat the Generals the last time the two teams met.
Pitching Matchup – Northwest Indiana RHP Mike Madura (Purdue Fort Wayne / Munster, Ind.) vs. Joliet RHP Jacob Overbeck (Southeastern Illinois CC / Morris, Ill.)
- Since the final meeting of the year between the Oilmen and Southland Vikings was canceled on Monday, the two teams split the season series 3-3. They have split the season series three times over the last five years and the Oilmen have not won the regular season series with Southland since 2015.
- The Oilmen are 5-1 against the Generals this season and 44-16 all-time against the Joliet franchise.
- With four days remaining in the regular season, the Oilmen are ahead of Crestwood by three games and Southland by 3 ½. The Oilmen are on the cusp of clinching their sixth trip to the Midwest Collegiate League Championship Series and they could do so by the end of MCL action on Tuesday. The Oilmen have previously played in the MCL Finals in 2012, 2013, 2016, 2018 and 2019.
- With this year’s unique format of only two teams reaching the postseason, the Oilmen had their work cut out for them if they wanted to extend the team’s most impressive streak – reaching the playoffs in every year of its existence. However, it appears they will keep that intact by nailing down a spot in the championship series this week. If the Oilmen win and get some help from the other MCL games, they could clinch their ninth straight playoff appearance on Tuesday.
- In addition, the Oilmen have already secured a winning record for the ninth consecutive season.
- Although all of the MCL Championship games will be played at Oil City Stadium, the Oilmen would love to fend off second-place DuPage County (currently ½ game back) to secure the top spot in the MCL standings and have last at-bats for Games 1 and 3 of the championship series.
- Mike Madura will take the ball for a regular season tune-up. He’s expected to get the nod in Game 2 of the MCL Championship Series on Sunday. Madura has logged 31 1/3 innings and issued seven walks against 34 strikeouts while making six stars. He holds a 2.30 ERA and a 4-0 record this season while owning a 7-0 mark in the regular season over his two seasons with the Oilmen. He’ll strive to become NWI’s first five-game winner since 2016, when Sam Geraci and Christian Howell won five games apiece.
- After an 0-for-12 slump over three games last week, Tyler Nelson is back on track with seven RBIs over his last three games to move into a tie with Angelo Cantelo for the team lead in that area with 26.
- Costa Sirounis had two extra-base knocks on Sunday, becoming the sixth Oilmen player with a triple this season. No NWI player has multiple triples this year.
- Clay Thompson is up to 28 walks, seven away from Chris Baker’s single-season Oilmen record of 35. Thompson has played in 26 games, while Baker needed 42 to set the mark.
- The other record to keep an eye on this week is Enrique Zamora’s strikeout record of 55 set in 2015. Jack Guzek needs seven more and is tentatively scheduled to get one more regular-season start.
- The Oilmen did not have a losing streak of three games or more in 2013, 2014 or 2017. They’re trying for their fourth season in nine years without a three-game skid. They have lost back-to-back games and need to win their next one to dodge a three-game losing streak.
- 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.