07/31/2016 8:03 AM
Northwest Indiana Oilmen (26-21)
at Joliet Admirals (26-20)
July 31, 2016 • 1 p.m. • Joliet, Ill.
Radio: Online Only, NWIOilmen.com (Pregame 12:40 p.m.)
NWI’s Luke Jaksich (St. Joseph’s College / St. John, Ind.) vs. Joliet’s "Staff Day"
It’s the final day of the regular season as the Oilmen and Admirals hook up at Wayne L. King Jr. Field. For the second consecutive year, the Oilmen play the team they will face in the first round of the playoffs on the final day of the regular season to determine home-field advantage in the postseason series. The Oilmen and Admirals will face off in the postseason for the first time ever in a three-game series that begins on Tuesday night. The winner of Sunday’s game will finish second in the MCL and host Games 1 and 3, while the loser will finish third and host Game 2. The other MCL playoff series pits the No. 1 Hounds against the No. 4 Bobcats starting on Tuesday at 5 p.m. at the Lemont Sports Complex. The Oilmen are 2-2 all-time in regular season finales. They lost the final game of the regular season in 2012 and 2013 but have since won it back-to-back years.
Inside the Oilmen
The Oilmen will attempt to bounce back from a 3-2 loss to Bloomington on Friday night. The Oilmen and Vikings were canceled by rain in a doubleheader on Saturday. Andrean graduate Luke Jaksich will get the nod on the mound. Jaksich is 4-0 with a 3.82 ERA and has issued 27 walks and 35 strikeouts in 35 1/3 innings. He will make his 11th appearance and fourth start on Saturday. Jaksich worked the ninth inning of a 16-9 win over the Lakers on Wednesday and allowed four runs on three hits and three walks in one inning. Jaksich has pitched against the Admirals just once, 2 1/3 innings of relief back on June 19 when he allowed six runs (two earned) on three walks and two hits. Stefano Belmonte is in position to lead the league in batting average, break the Oilmen single-season record set by Tyler Sroczynski a year ago (.397) and become the first Oilmen player to his above .400. He’s at .404 entering the regular season’s final day. Sroczynski has 30 RBIs to lead the team and rank fifth in the MCL. DuPage’s Tyler Tesmond leads the way with 35. Sroczynski leads the league with an Oilmen-record 52 runs scored in his 34 games played. Sroczynski’s seven home runs this season would put him into a five-way tie for the single-season MCL record. In addition, Sroczynski is one stolen base away from tying Jack Czeszewski’s franchise record of 22. Chris Baker has matched the Oilmen single-season record with 30 walks, one ahead of Joliet’s Ryan Schefske for the league lead.
Inside the Admirals
Joliet’s Jordan Miller has 13 doubles, sharing the league lead with Bloomington’s Grant Anderson. Cody Grosse (13-for-26) is hitting .500 against the Oilmen this season. The Admirals are coming off a doubleheader split with DuPage County on Friday. The Admirals have made a significant jump after going 16-23 a year ago and finishing 12 games behind first-place DuPage County and 8 ½ games behind the Oilmen. The Admirals are expected to use Sunday as a “staff day” from a pitching standpoint.
About the Matchup
The Oilmen dropped the most recent meeting with the Admirals 8-4 on July 26 in Joliet. The Oilmen are still 6-4 against the Admirals this season and will win the season set regardless of Sunday’s outcome. The Oilmen are 2-2 at Wayne L. King Junior Field this year.
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