O'FALLON, MO. -- The Southern Illinois Miners split a doubleheader with the River City Rascals on Wednesday night at CarShield Field, falling 3-2 in game one before going ahead in the ninth inning on Kyle Davis' grand slam in game two to record an 8-4 victory.
In the first contest, the Rascals jumped in front on a two-run home run from Braxton Martinez in the first inning against Chase Cunningham. The Miners cut the deficit to 2-1 in the top of the third inning on a bases-loaded, RBI single by Andy Cosgrove, but the Rascals would score that run back in the fourth on a fielder's choice and an error, making the score 3-1. In the seventh inning, the Miners got runners at the corners for Chris Iriart with one out, and his RBI groundout put the tying run on second base and made the score 3-2, but the Miners would get no closer as the Rascals recorded the final out. Cunningham (0-2) tossed a complete game in defeat, pitching six innings with three runs allowed along with a season-high seven strikeouts.
Game two ended up being a marathon contest lasting over three-and-a-half hours. It was Davis who got Southern Illinois in front 1-0 in the first inning on a bases-loaded walk, but the lead was short-lived, as Martinez doubled in two runs against Marty Anderson in the bottom of the first for a 2-1 lead. That lead held up until the fourth, when with two outs and runners at first and second base, Gianfranco Wawoe singled to left field to bring home Cletis Avery, with an error on Rascals left fielder Cody Livesay allowing Bryant Flete to come around to score from first as the Miners took a 3-2 lead.
After Anderson got out of a bases-loaded jam in the bottom of the frame, the Miners could not keep the Rascals from tying the score in the fifth on an RBI infield hit by Kameron Esthay at 3-3. For the second inning in a row, they stranded the bases loaded, however, and Southern Illinois would go back ahead 4-3 when Flete walked and scored from first on Joe Duncan's two-out RBI double over the center fielder's head. They held that advantage until the seventh inning, when, after Jordan Brink retired the first two batters of the inning, River City's next four batters all reached base after they had two strikes on them in their at-bats, culminating in an RBI single by Andrew Penner that forced extra innings and tied the game at 4-4.
In the ninth, with the International Tiebreaker in effect, Wawoe singled and Stephen Lohr walked to load the bases for Davis, who cranked the first pitch he saw from Anthony Baleto (0-2) over the left field wall for the first grand slam by a Miners batter since August of 2016, putting Southern Illinois up to stay at 8-4. Nick Duron (1-0) finished things off by striking out Penner to end the game in the bottom half as the Miners split the twin-bill.