Patrick Bellinger pitched his finest game of the season as the DuPage County Hounds won their first playoff game in franchise history, defeating the Northwest Indiana Oilmen 3-1 at the Benedictine Dog Pound.
Bellinger tossed a complete game, allowing one run on five hits. He struck out 11 and walked two on 122 pitches. The outing was the longest for a DuPage starter this season.
The Hounds strung together four singles off NWI starter Jimmy McNamera in the bottom of the 4th. Connor Kopach and Drew LaComb led off with back-to-back base hits and each stole a base. Frankie Perrone brought home the first run on an RBI groundout, and Trent Carrier singled home LaComb to give the home team a 2-0 lead.
The Oilmen got one back in the top of the 5th, as James Meeker and Zack Jones socked doubles off back-to-back Bellinger pitches. With two on and two out, Bellinger caught Ryan Burvan looking on a curveball for strike three.
A masterful Bellinger worked around another double and walk in the 6th, starting a streak of 11 Oilmen hitters retired in a row. The Tiffin University hurler seemed to get stronger as the game went on, saving his best stuff for last to secure the victory.
DuPage County added an insurance run in the 5th when LaComb’s two-out single brought home Clayton Johannes.
Nick Nauracy pitched two perfect innings of relief for the visiting Oilmen.
The win is the first playoff triumph in the three-year history of the DuPage County Hounds. The Hounds made the playoffs each of their last two seasons but were swept both times.
DuPage now finds itself one win away from the MCL championship series. The clincher can come tomorrow night in Game 2 as the Hounds travel to Oil City Stadium. That game promises to be another pitchers’ duel as Matt Frawley and Cameron Linck will square off for the second time this season. First pitch is at 7:10 and will be broadcast live on dupagehounds.com.
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