The Region's Team Of Northwest Indiana


Oilmen Eyeing Fourth MCL Championship Series Appearance

08/01/2018 11:03 AM -

Southland Vikings (0-1)
at NWI Oilmen (1-0)

Aug. 1, 2018 • 7:10 p.m. CT • Whiting, Ind.
Broadcast: Oilmen Broadcasting Network (Facebook Live)

Pitching Matchup
NWI RHP Brendan Kelly (Purdue Northwest / Grandville, Mich.) vs. Southland RHP John Hendry (University of Indianapolis / Park Ridge, Ill.)

For Starters
Game 1 belonged to the Oilmen as NWI posted a five-run seventh inning to take the 12-7 lead over Southland that stood for the game’s duration on Tuesday. Max Franklin was the winning pitcher as he struck out eight over five scoreless innings of relief. The Oilmen have played nine playoff series in their first six seasons, and in all nine the winner of Game 1 has gone on to win the series. They’ll hope to keep that trend going as they need to capture one win in the next two games at Oil City Stadium. With a win on Wednesday, the Oilmen would secure their fourth trip to the MCL Championship Series as they’ve previously been one of the last two teams standing in 2012, 2013 and 2016 – winning the title in 2012 and 2016.

Inside the Oilmen
The Oilmen stole an eye-popping nine bases on Tuesday night, led by four from Amir Wright. The four tied an Oilmen single-game record set by on July 23, 2017, when Chris Baker swiped four bags against the Crestwood Panthers. Nate Montgomery crushed his first home run of the postseason and his eighth combined between the postseason and the regular season. Like Major League Baseball, MCL single-season and career statistics registered in the postseason don’t count toward the record book. However, Tyler Sroczynski had one postseason home run in 2016, so Montgomery is now even with Sroczynski for the most home runs in a year combined between the regular season and postseason with eight apiece. The Oilmen have elected to go with Brendan Kelly for Wednesday’s Game 2. In six games during the regular season, the right-hander compiled a 3.57 ERA and 2-0 record while issuing 10 walks and striking out 14 in 22 2/3 innings. He faced the Vikings just once, tossing two scoreless innings in relief on July 12 at Hap Bruno Field. The top five batters in the Oilmen order all had multiple hits on Tuesday, led by Wright and Jackson Dvorak with three apiece. Montgomery drove in four runs in his MCL postseason debut.

Inside the Vikings
The Vikings used a five-run fifth to bounce Christian Howell from the game and take the lead on Tuesday, but Franklin outdid Hunter Kraynak in what turned into a battle of the bullpens. Now, Southland will utilize the pitcher with the most starts against the Oilmen of any hurler in the MCL this season – right-hander John Hendry. A college teammate of Jake Perreira’s at the University of Indianapolis, Hendry finished the regular season with a 3-2 record and 4.71 ERA over eight games while walking eight and striking out 20 in 42 innings of work. The son of former Cubs general manager Jim Hendry, John Hendry started four times against the Oilmen, all in the month of June. Hendry thrived when the Oilmen visited Hap Bruno Field, going 15 scoreless innings, but was not as dominant at Oil City Stadium, where he allowed 10 runs (nine earned) in 2 1/3 innings on June 7. Southland enjoyed multi-hit days for Dashon Moore, Andy Lopez and Joe Curci on Tuesday.

About the Matchup
The Oilmen are 35-32 all-time against the Vikings and 1-2 in postseason play. The Oilmen and Vikings split this year’s regular season series 4-4 with Southland pulling away in the late innings to win this year’s final regular season matchup 15-4 last Tuesday. That was the most recent for the Oilmen, who have rapped off four straight victories.

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