07/16/2016 10:15 AM
Southland Vikings (15-19)
at Northwest Indiana Oilmen (22-15)
July 16, 2016 • 7:20 p.m. • Whiting, Ind.
Radio: AM 1230 WJOB, 104.7 FM
Online: NWIOilmen.com, wjob1230.com
NWI’s Clay Keltner (Cornerstone / Highland, Ind.) vs. Southland’s Mario Samuel (Wisconsin Parkside / Bolingbrook, Ill.)
The Northwest Indiana Oilmen have matched the longest winning streak in franchise history after notching their seventh straight victory with Friday’s 6-1 win over DuPage County. The last time the Oilmen won seven in a row was June 7-20, 2014. A win on Saturday would give the Oilmen their first-ever eight-game winning streak. In addition, Friday’s win allowed the Oilmen to surpass the Hounds and move into first place for the first time since July 7, 2015. The win was also significant because it gave the Oilmen a 4-3 lead in the season series with two games to play. Should the Oilmen and Hounds finish tied in the standings, the winner of the head-to-head set would take the tiebreaker.
Inside the Oilmen
Tommy Szczasny saw his 14-game hitting streak snapped with an 0-for-4 performance on Friday. Chase Dawson continued to rake and is now 9-for-15 over his last three games. He tripled for the second straight day to move into a tie with Tyler Sroczynski for the team lead with three. Dawson has 10 extra-base hits, second on the team behind Sroczynski’s 13. Dawson is now the team leader in OBP at .482. Stefano Belmonte’s two hits on Friday moved him back above .400 in the batting average department. His .402 leads the league. Zack Forney became the seventh different Oilmen player to homer this season when he drilled one to right on Friday. The Oilmen have 12 home runs as a team, five away from tying the franchise record of 17 set last year. Bo Fletcher enjoyed his third multiple hit game of the season and upped his hitting streak to five on Friday. Hunter Clark worked 1 2/3 scoreless innings out of the bullpen on Friday and has still not allowed an earned run in 20 innings this season. Clark has pitched in five of the seven meetings between the Oilmen and Hounds this year, totaling 10 1/3 innings while allowing only four hits. Not only has Clark not allowed an earned run all year, but he hasn’t allowed any runs in his last 18 innings. He gave up unearned tallies in each of his first two outings of the year, but has held opponents scoreless since June 2. Jordan Petty has struck out 17 over the course of his last two outings – his first two starts of the year. Clay Keltner will make his seventh start of the season on Saturday. He’s 3-2 with a 1.30 ERA and has issued 10 walks against 25 strikeouts over 34 2/3 innings. This is Keltner’s third straight start and fourth overall against Southland. He beat the Vikings with eight one-run, four-hit innings on July 2. Oilmen assistant coaches Steve Brewer and Aaron Furman will co-manage Saturday’s game against the Vikings as they fill in for Oilmen manager Adam Enright. The Oilmen lost the only game they’ve played without Enright in his tenure as manager, a 3-0 defeat to Bloomington on opening night of this season under the direction of Billy DuBois.
Inside the Vikings
Southland starter Mario Samuel will face the Oilmen for the second time this season. He received no decision on June 11 after allowing five runs (two earned) on five hits in six innings. Samuel has a 1-2 record and 5.40 ERA in 30 innings, six games and three starts. In his most recent outing, Samuel allowed seven runs (six earned) on 10 hits in seven innings in a loss to the Bobcats on July 10. The Vikings are come off a fascinating game on Friday that resulted in a 12-11 loss to the Lakers. The Vikings trailed 11-3 entering the eighth inning, but scored four in the eighth and four in the ninth to tie the game. Jerry Hodges lashed a walk-off single in the bottom of the ninth to send the Lakers into celebration.
About the Matchup
The Oilmen lead the season series 5-4 and the all-time series 27-22.
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