08/14/2020 10:00 AM
MCL Minutemen (12-21)
at Northwest Indiana Oilmen (23-11)
Aug. 14, 2020 • 7:10 p.m. • Oil City Stadium • Whiting, Ind.
Broadcast: Oilmen Broadcasting Network (Facebook Live)
The 2020 Midwest Collegiate League regular season champion Northwest Indiana Oilmen will play one final tune-up on Friday night before beginning the MCL Championships Series on Saturday. The MCL Minutemen will provide the opposition for the regular season finale, a $2 Miller Lite Pint Night at the ballpark. The game is meaningless in the standings, but it accounts for one of the few remaining opportunities to catch live baseball in Northwest Indiana in 2020.
Pitching Matchup – Northwest Indiana RHP Clayton Bumsted (St. Xavier / Palos Heights, Ill.) vs. Minutemen RHP Jeremiah Williams (South Suburban / Calumet City, Ill.)
- The Oilmen scored early and often to clinch the MCL regular season title with a 12-1 victory over DuPage County on Thursday. This marks just the second regular-season championship in the nine-year history of the team as the Oilmen previously won the regular-season crown in 2017. The Oilmen have finished either second or third in their other seven seasons.
- All three MCL Championship Series games (Saturday through Monday) will be played at Oil City Stadium with the Oilmen owning last at-bats for Game 1 and Game 3.
- The Oilmen are 8-2 against the Minutemen this season with five of those victories coming by six runs or more. Seven of the 10 meetings have seen at least one of the teams put up a double-figure run total.
- Jack Guzek had six strikeouts in his final start of the summer on Thursday, finishing the season with 54. He finished one strikeout shy of Enrique Zamora’s single-season Oilmen strikeout mark, which was established in 2015. Guzek became just the fifth pitcher in Oilmen history to finish with 50 or more strikeouts in a season, and finished second on the team’s single-season strikeout list.
- Guzek led the MCL in strikeouts, finishing 14 ahead of teammate Mike Madura, who was second in the league. The Oilmen accounted for three of the top four in the MCL with Joe Rotkis fourth at 37. Guzek also led the league in innings pitched at 38 1/3.
- Despite finishing as one of the franchise’s all-time leaders in strikeouts, Guzek did not even have the most impressive strikeout line of any Oilmen pitcher this season. That’s because left-handed reliever Isaiah Coupet struck out eight batters over just three innings in his season finale on Thursday to finish with an eye-popping 32 strikeouts in just 18 1/3 innings of work.
- Tyler Nelson’s three hits on Thursday lifted his season total to 40, putting him atop the MCL leaderboard in hits. He enters Friday tied for the MCL lead in RBIs with Ryan Howe of the Minutemen as both men have driven in 28 runs.
- Clay Thompson’s 28 walks lead the league, with Ryan McCoy of the Minutemen second with 23. Thompson is also third in the league with 12 steals, chasing just Michael Bolton (14) and John San Jule (13) entering the final day of the regular season.
- The Oilmen have won three straight regular season finales and are 5-3 all-time in regular season finales including a 5-1 mark over the last six seasons.
- 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.