Drew LaComb drove in the go-ahead run in the 8th, then closed it out for Matt Frawley and the Hounds, who beat the Oilmen 2-1 to sweep the Midwest Collegiate League semifinal series.
With the score tied 1-1 in the top of the 8th, Trent Carrier laced a one-out single off NWI starter Cameron Linck. Carrier advanced to second on a Zack Jones passed ball and went to third on Connor Kopach’s groundout. Drew LaComb came up and bounced a 1-2 comebacker to the mound. Linck’s momentum carried his body away from the ball, but he deflected it with his glove, killing any momentum it would have had to the shortstop. LaComb’s hit died in between four Oilmen defenders, and Carrier scored the go-ahead run.
The run put DuPage starter Matt Frawley in line for the win, and Frawley sat the Oilmen down 1-2-3 in the 8th, dominating his last inning on the mound. Frawley finished allowed one unearned run on three hits. He walked four, hit two, and struck out five on 117 pitches. Never dominant – he allowed baserunners in six of his eight frames – Frawley danced around trouble time after time to keep his team on top.
Josh Davis was initially brought on to close out the 9th, but after issuing a four-pitch walk and misfiring on his first two pitches to Nick Vogelmeier, Coach Osborne went with his LaComb, who moved to the mound from second base. After giving up a single to Vogelmeier, LaComb induced a Brodie Meyer lineout to short, Ryan Burvan flyout to right, and Craig Dedelow groundout to first. With Trent Carrier’s foot on the bag, the only sound from Oil City Stadium was the fire burning from the centerfield refinery, and the Hounds celebrated their first-ever appearance in the championship round. [Click here to listen to the clinching call]
LaComb scored the Hounds’ first run in the top of the 2nd, coming home on Cameron Linck’s balk. Otherwise spectacular, unforced errors proved to be Linck’s undoing, as he finished his 7.2 innings with two runs against on 8 hits, walking two and striking out six on 105 pitches.
Northwest Indiana got back into the game in the bottom of the 7th thanks to a gift run. Kevin DeFillippis scored from second when Connor Kopach’s throw to first skipped over Carrier’s glove. That brought the Oilmen even, 1-1, and a Richie Gorski error two batters later put the go-ahead runs in scoring position. But Frawley found something extra, retiring Dedelow on a groundout to first and Jones on a comebacker.
With the win, the Hounds sweep the best-of-three MCL semifinals and have the day off tomorrow. The 2014 MCL Championship Series starts on Friday night and will pit DuPage County against the Southland Vikings, who swept the Lexington Snipes in the other semifinal series. Game 1 will be Friday night at Homewood-Flossmoor High School in Flossmoor. Game 2 will be Saturday night at the Benedictine Dog Pound in Lisle and will be the Hounds’ final home game of 2014. Game 3, if necessary, will be Sunday night in Flossmoor.
Because Southland’s ballpark does not have Wi-Fi, no stream will be available for Games 1 and 3. The road games will be live tweeted @thedupagehounds.
UPDATE: MCL Commissioner and Vikings owner Don Popravak plans to make Wi-Fi available at Southland on Friday, meaning Game 1 of the series should feature a live stream!
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