The Region's Team Of Northwest Indiana


Game Notes: Oilmen try to stop Bobcats from clinching playoff spot

07/29/2016 11:25 AM -

Northwest Indiana Oilmen (26-20)
at Bloomington Bobcats (18-22)

July 29, 2016 • 5:30 p.m. • Bloomington, Ill.
Radio: Online Only, (Pregame 5:10 p.m.)

Pitching Matchup
NWI’s Richard Yelnick (Trinity Christian / New Lenox, Ill.) vs. Bloomington’s TBD

For Starters
With five games remaining in the regular season, the Oilmen control their own fate for the top spot in the Midwest Collegiate League. The Oilmen enter the day tied for second place with Joliet and two games behind DuPage County for the league lead. The Oilmen hit the road for all three games this weekend as Pierogi Fest will invade 119th Street beginning on Friday. Oil City Stadium will be used on Saturday for a performance by the Village People. The Oilmen and Hounds were scheduled to play a significant game in the league standings on Thursday, but that game was postponed due to rain and poor field conditions. The game will be made up on Monday at 7:20 p.m. at Oil City Stadium only if it is necessary for the league standings. The Oilmen will have a home playoff game on either Tuesday or Wednesday, depending on how the final weekend of the regular season plays out.

Inside the Oilmen
The Oilmen overcame five errors on Wednesday by racking up 17 hits in a 16-9 victory over the Lakers. Stefano Belmonte had three doubles and four hits to lead the way, his first three-double game in his 64-game Oilmen career. It was the fourth three-hit game of the year for Belmonte. Chris Baker drew two walks on Wednesday to boost his season total to 30, matching the franchise record set by Jack Czeszewski. Baker went 3-for-3 and reached base five times, notching his fifth game this season with three hits or more. Catcher Zack Forney posted his first three-hit performance of the summer. Tyler Sroczynski has four straight multi-hit games and is hitting .500 with nine RBIs during that stretch. He now leads the team and ranks second in the league with 31 RBIs despite hitting leadoff and is within six of Nick Bartolone’s franchise record. Richard Yelnick will get the nod for the Oilmen on Friday for his 10th game and eighth start of the season. He holds a 2-2 record and 2.13 ERA with 13 walks and 32 strikeouts in 38 innings. Yelnick has faced the Bobcats once this year, a win with six shutout innings of there-hit, eight-strikeout baseball on June 16. His most recent outing was four shutout innings in relief on July 24 against Joliet. Trinity Christian infielder Kyle VanKalker will be available for Friday’s game as a temporary player. VanKalker played in 10 games with the Oilmen last season.

Inside the Bobcats
The Bobcats prevailed 6-1 in Game 1 of a doubleheader against the Vikings on Thursday, but the second game was rained out with the score tied at one in the third inning. The Bobcats and Vikings will make up the second game on Sunday, if necessary for the league standings. The win was a significant one for the Bobcats, who now lead the Vikings by two games for the final playoff spot. They have split the eight head-to-head meetings down the middle, so the potential makeup game would also dictate the head-to-head tiebreaker between the Oilmen and Bobcats for the final playoff spot. However, the Bobcats can clinch the fourth and final playoff spot with a win over the Oilmen on Friday or an Oilmen victory in either game of a doubleheader against the Vikings on Saturday.

About the Matchup
The Bobcats clinched the season series on June 3 by winning the first four head-to-head meetings. Since then, the Oilmen have won back-to-back matchups 17-1 on June 16 and 7-3 on July 7. This will mark the first matchup between the two squads since July 7 and the final regular season meeting in 2016.

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