The Region's Team Of Northwest Indiana


Game Notes: Oilmen, Vikings to play two on Friday

07/16/2015 10:27 PM -

Southland Vikings (8-18)
at Northwest Indiana Oilmen (17-12)

July 17, 2015 • 4:30 & 7:10 p.m. • Whiting, Ind.
Radio: AM 1230 WJOB (game two only)
Internet Broadcast: (both games)
Pitching Matchup
Game 1: NWI’s Enrique Zamora (Purdue Calumet / Hammond, Ind.) vs. Southland’s Justin Freeman (Southern University / Olympia Fields, Ill.)
Game 2: NWI’s Brian Jestice (Evansville / Hoffman Estates, Ill.) vs. Southland’s Matt Sandoval (Purdue Calumet / Highland, Ind.)
For Starters
Thursday’s scheduled meeting between the two teams was washed out, so the Vikings and Oilmen will engage in a doubleheader on Friday. The first game begins at 4:30 and will be seven innings in length. The originally scheduled 7:10 game will be a full nine innings. After going 1-6 in a seven-game stretch, the Oilmen appear to be back on track with back-to-back wins over Lexington and Joliet. Keith Mahler picked up the win in relief on Wednesday against the Admirals to improve to 4-0. He has allowed only one run in his last 20 innings of work. Mahler now leads the team with a 1.97 ERA. Enrique Zamora is the game one starter. The Calumet College right-hander is 3-1 with a 2.46 ERA and leads the team in strikeouts with 32.
Inside The Oilmen
Fred Smart, who started the season 1-for-17, has lifted his average above .300 for the first time all year. He collected two more hits and drove in a pair in Wednesday’s win over Joliet. Smart was hit by a pitch again on Wednesday, increasing his team lead to seven. He is two shy of Elliot Bajda’s single-season Oilmen hit by pitch record of nine set in 2012. Sam Geraci has 17 walks this season to lead the team, but is still 13 away from Jack Czeszewski’s team record. Czeszewski also holds the team’s stolen base record with 22 in 2013. Tyler Sroczynski stole his team-leading 12th base on Wednesday.
Inside the Vikings
Southland continued to struggle on Tuesday night, incurring a doubleheader sweep at the hands of the Lexington Snipes. They dropped the opening game 4-0 and the nightcap 7-1. The Vikings have not scored more than two runs in any one game since the 7-5 victory over the Oilmen on July 9. That game is also Southland’s most recent win, as a five-game losing streak has followed. The Vikings are 1-7 in their last eight games, with that lone win coming against the Oilmen. Justin Freeman, son of former big league pitcher and Vikings pitching coach Marvin Freeman, gets the start in game one on Friday. He has a 2.05 ERA in eight game this year. He pitched a scoreless inning of relief against the Oilmen on June 3.
About the Matchup
The Oilmen have won two of the three games against Southland this season. The all-time series favors the Vikings, with the Oilmen 16-18 through the years against Southland. Jake Hickey hit a grand slam and Matt Sandoval pitched the Vikings to victory with six innings of two-run ball on July 9, as Southland topped NWI 7-5. Sandoval starts the second game of Friday’s twin bill
Around the MCL
The Oilmen lost ground in the standings on Thursday. Both DuPage County and Lexington were victorious, meaning the Oilmen are one game behind the second-place Snipes and 3 ½ in rear of the first-place Hounds. The Hounds bested the Lakers 7-2, winning a rain-shortened game behind five innings of five-hit, two-run ball from Joe Palasiewicz. Lexington prevailed in a wacky game against Joliet 12-8. The Admirals scored five times in the eighth to tie the game, and the Snipes responded for four in the bottom of the inning to regain the lead.

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