The Region's Team Of Northwest Indiana


Game Notes: Sliding Oilmen strive to snap skid by stopping Snipes

07/11/2015 5:30 AM -

Northwest Indiana Oilmen (15-11)
at Lexington Snipes (15-11) 

July 12, 2015 • 1:30 p.m. • Lexington, Ill.
Radio: AM 1230 WJOB
Internet Broadcast:
Pitching Matchup
NWI’s Keith Mahler (Cumberland / Highland, Ind.) vs. Lexington’s Ross Learnard (Parkland)
For Starters
Remarkably, the current stretch is the first time the Oilmen have lost three consecutive games since June 22 to July 2, 2012, when they dropped six straight. The Oilmen went on to win the Midwest Collegiate League championship that season. Saturday’s nine-run loss was the team’s most lopsided defeat since July 5, 2014, when the Oilmen fell 13-3 to Southland. The Oilmen have dropped five of the last six games. The Oilmen made four errors on Saturday and have not played an errorless game since July 1 against Michigan City. The four blunders were the most committed in a game this season.
Inside the Oilmen
Stefano Belmonte continued to impress by reaching base three times on Saturday. He notched another RBI to lift his league-high total to 24. He has managed to rack up 24 RBIs in only 19 starts this summer. He is in position to threaten the Midwest Collegiate League record of 37 established by NWI’s Nick Bartolone in 2013. He is also four doubles away from matching the franchise record of 13 set by Bennett Oliver in 2012. Jordan Lewis has already tied Bill Miller’s home run record of three, but he has not gone yard since June 20. In his last start, Keith Mahler provided the only Oilmen win in the last six games with eight innings of one-run baseball. He has pitched against Lexington once this season, yielding four runs in four innings and picking up the win in a rain-shortened game on June 7.
Inside the Snipes
The Snipes were rained out against Joliet on Saturday. They are looking to bounce back from a 10-6 loss to the Hounds on Friday that snapped a four-game winning streak. Lefty Ross Learnard (2-1, 2.14 ERA) will make his first start against the Oilmen this season. Owen Miller, Jared McCunn, Deion Thompson, Tanner Russell and Neal Tyrell are all hitting above .300 for Lexington.
About the Matchup
The Oilmen and Snipes have already had three head-to-head meetings rained out this year and a fourth game that was delayed and shortened by rain. Whenever these two teams are scheduled to face off, Mother Nature seems to play a factor. The forecast for Sunday is questionable, as are field conditions at High Desert, creating the possibility that Sunday’s game could also be impacted by rain. The Oilmen hold a 14-7 advantage in the all-time series, but the season series is split 2-2.
Around the MCL
The Hounds will look to continue their success on Sunday at Hap Bruno Field against the Vikings. The Lakers and Admirals clash in a critical game in the race for the fourth and final Midwest Collegiate League playoff spot. The Lakers can pull with ½ game of the Admirals for fourth with a victory on Sunday.

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