07/02/2016 10:32 AM
Southland Vikings (13-12)
at Northwest Indiana Oilmen (14-14)
July 2, 2016 • 7:20 p.m. • Whiting, Ind.
Radio: Online Only, NWIOilmen.com (Pregame 7 p.m.)
NWI’s Clay Keltner (Cornerstone / Highland, Ind.) vs. Southland’s Colin Brauer (College of DuPage)
The Oilmen fell to 1-12 when scoring fewer than six runs with Friday’s 3-2 loss to DuPage County. They also dropped to 1-1 this season and 4-10 all-time in extra innings. Both of this year’s extra inning affairs have come in 11 innings against the Hounds. Saturday will mark the 10th consecutive game day for the Oilmen and complete a stretch of 10 games in 10 days. They will have the next three days off from MCL play with a game against the U.S. Military All-Stars on Monday sandwiched between off days Sunday and Tuesday. This marks the first time in franchise history the Oilmen have played 10 straight days without a day off. They’ve been scheduled to do so before, but have always ended up with days off due to rainouts. They’ve also played 10 games in 10 days on multiple occasions, but those have always included off days and doubleheaders.
Inside the Oilmen
Oilmen starting pitcher Clay Keltner is 3-1 with a 1.35 ERA in five games. His ERA leads the Oilmen starting staff. Keltner has issued nine walks and recorded 16 strikeouts in 26 2/3 innings. In his last outing, the Cornerstone right-hander beat the Vikings with seven shutout innings and yielded only four hits. Speaking of strong ERAs, it doesn’t get any better than Oilmen lefty Hunter Clark, who hasn’t allowed an earned run in 16 1/3 innings. James Whiteman has also been effective, allowing just one earned run in 10 2/3 innings out of the Oilmen bullpen. Chase Dawson reached base four times on Friday, while Marshawn Taylor was the only NWI player with two hits. Chris Baker snapped a 1-for-22 slump with his first-inning single on Friday and later drove in a run with a sacrifice fly. Stefano Belmonte singled in the third to end a rare 0-for-14 cold spell. Christian Howell delivered his best start of the year and now leads the team in strikeouts with 25.
Inside the Vikings
Like the Oilmen, the Vikings are looking to bounce back from a low-scoring loss. They fell to the Lakers 3-1 on Friday night. Southland holds a ½ game lead on the Oilmen for third place in the MCL. The Vikings are one game behind second-place Joliet and 1 ½ games in back of the league-leading Hounds. The rest of the league is off on Saturday, so the winner of the Oilmen/Vikings game will gain ground in the standings. The Vikings trot Colin Brauer to the mound for his fourth game and second start. He’s 1-0 with a 2.92 ERA while allowing four walks and striking out 12 in 12 1/3 innings. Brauer worked two scoreless innings against the Oilmen on June 23. He also pitched against the Oilmen on June 4 at Hap Bruno, when the Oilmen scored 12 runs against him in five innings before the game was suspended by rain. Southland has already surpassed its win total from all of last season.
About the Matchup
The Oilmen prevailed 10-0 when the two teams met a week ago. This marks the sixth meeting of the year between the two squads with the Vikings owning wins in three of the first five. There are a total of 13 scheduled meetings between the two teams this season.
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