The Region's Team Of Northwest Indiana


Game Notes: Oilmen can clinch first trip to MCL Finals since 2013 on Wednesday

08/03/2016 9:08 AM -

Northwest Indiana Oilmen (1-0)
at Joliet Admirals (0-1)
*MCL Semifinal Series Game 2*

August 3, 2016 • 7:20 p.m. • Whiting, Ind.
Radio: AM 1230 WJOB, 104.7 FM

Pitching Matchup
NWI’s Jordan Petty (Purdue Northwest / Highland, Ind.) vs. Joliet’s Tom Jeffries (Joliet JC / St. Francis / Mokena, Ill.)

For Starters
For the first time since the first round in 2013, the Northwest Indiana Oilmen have won Game 1 of a postseason series. They used a balanced offensive attack with seven different players recording hits and benefited from four Joliet errors in Tuesday’s 7-1 win at Wayne L. King Junior Field. With a win on Wednesday, the Oilmen can win a playoff series and clinch a spot in the MCL Championship for the first time since 2013. The Oilmen are 3-for-3 in closing out series in Game 2 after winning Game 1 in franchise history. They’ve gone on to lose the series all three times they’ve dropped Game 1. The last time the Oilmen clinched a spot in the MCL Finals was July 31, 2013, a 17-9 win over the Lexington Snipes. The Oilmen have lost four straight home playoff games dating back to a win over the Snipes on July 30, 2013.

Inside the Oilmen
Oilmen starting pitcher Jordan Petty has an opportunity to become the first hurler since Joe Cochran in 2013 to pick up a playoff series clinching victory for the Oilmen. Cochran’s win came in unconventional fashion as he allowed seven runs (six earned) on 12 hits in five innings but was still the winning pitching in the rout of the Snipes. Speaking of unconventional, Petty’s rise to the front of the Oilmen starting staff has been the biggest surprise of the season for the Oilmen. Petty was tabbed for middle relief duties before the season, seemingly ranking behind at least seven pitchers on the starting depth chart. However, Oilmen manager Adam Enright saw something he liked in the lefty reliever and decided to give him a spot start on July 7 in Bloomington. Petty delivered the most dominant pitching performance of the Oilmen season, racking up 10 strikeouts and allowing just three hits over eight scoreless innings. From there, he never left the Oilmen rotation and is now the team’s No. 2 starter. He has an 0.47 ERA in three starts this season. Overall, Petty was 3-0 with a 1.80 ERA, 12 walks and 27 strikeouts in 30 innings of work during the regular season. He started against the Admirals on July 24 and allowed three runs (all unearned) on seven hits in five innings to get the win. He also pitched a scoreless inning of relief on Sunday in Joliet, throwing just 12 pitches. Braden Niksich, who worked a shutout frame out of the bullpen on Tuesday, finished the regular season with 13 ½ consecutive innings without allowing an earned run and 8 1/3 innings without allowing any run. He has not given up an earned tally since June 16.

Inside the Admirals
The Admirals find themselves with their backs against the wall as they look to avoid a first-round playoff exit for the second straight year. Joliet won the first game of last year’s series with DuPage County, but then coughed up a late lead in the second game and incurred a blowout defeat in the series finale. The Admirals are the only team in MCL history to win the first game of a playoff series and then go on to lose the series. Joliet was hurt by four errors leading to four unearned runs in Tuesday’s loss. Starting pitcher Tom Jeffries went 3-2 with a 4.73 ERA while striking out 25 and issuing 25 walks over 45 2/3 innings during the regular season. He has not pitched against the Oilmen all season.

About the Matchup
The Oilmen won this year’s regular season series 6-5 and went 4-2 at home against the Admirals. The Oilmen are 28-10 all-time against the Rockford/Joliet franchise.

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