JOLIET -- The Southern Illinois Miners had a 5-1 early lead on the Joliet Slammers on Sunday afternoon, then a 9-8 lead late in the contest, but lost both in a 10-9 defeat at DuPage Medical Group Field, dropping the weekend series two games to one.
Joliet loaded the bases with no one out in the bottom of the first, but scored just once as Ryan McAuliffe induced a double play ground ball to help minimize the damage. In the next half-inning, the Miners batted around and scored five runs, including a two-run homer to center field by Taylor Sparks, and back-to-back RBI singles with two outs by Yeltsin Gudino and Jamey Smart, taking a 5-1 lead.
Joliet got one run back on a single and an error with two outs in the bottom of the second inning to make it 5-2, then exploded for six runs of their own in the bottom of the fourth inning, including a go-ahead, two-out RBI double by former Miner Harrison Bragg, and a two-run home run from Riley Krane to take an 8-5 lead.
Southern Illinois responded right back in the top of the fifth inning, as Arturo Nieto singled with two outs and went to second base on a wild pitch before Andy Cosgrove brought him in with a single to make it 8-6. In the sixth inning, Southern Illinois was able to retake the lead with a three-run rally- Davis made it 8-7 with an RBI double, with a wild pitch by Isaac Sanchez then tying the game at 8-8. Sparks then smashed a go-ahead single to left field to put the Miners back in front by a score of 9-8.
The lead held for one inning, but Joliet again came back, tying the game on a two-out, RBI single by Dash Winningham in the bottom of the eighth at 9-9. In the ninth, after the Miners stranded the potential lead run on second base in the top half, three straight walks with two outs loaded the bases for Clayton Harp, whose fourth hit of the game, an RBI single to center field, won it for the Slammers.
Sparks finished 2-for-5 with three RBIs for the second day in a row, with Gudino finishing 2-for-5 with two RBIs as well. Davis, Nieto and Kirvin Moesquit also scored two runs apiece, as Southern Illinois put up nine runs of offense for the second time in the series, but lost the set two games to one.
With 12 games remaining in the regular season, and now one and one-half games back of a playoff spot, the Miners return home next for a crucial, three-game home series against the Evansville Otters, beginning on Tuesday, August 20, at 6:35 p.m. at Rent One Park.
Saturday's Game: Power and pitching lead Miners to victory
JOLIET -- The Southern Illinois Miners grabbed the lead early on Saturday night against the Joliet Slammers, and held it the rest of the way thanks to effective pitching in a series-evening 5-2 victory at DuPage Medical Group Field.
In the top of the first inning, with two on and two out, Taylor Sparks kicked off the game in grand style, smacking his seventh home run of the season out to left field to put the Miners ahead 3-0. In the third inning, Jamey Smart added to the lead with a solo home run, his fifth of the season, to make the score 4-0 against Joliet starter Kit Fowler (0-1).
Southern Illinois starter Frank Moscatiello made the lead stand up, working scoreless frames in the first three innings. Joliet then scored a run on a groundout in the bottom of the fourth by Jacob Crum, and got within 4-2 on a solo homer in the sixth by Riley Krane, but that was all Moscatiello (1-0) allowed, while walking three and striking out six to eventually earn his first Miners victory.
Southern Illinois was able to score an insurance run in the top of the seventh, as with two outs and runners at first and second base, Sparks reached on an infield hit to third, with third baseman Milton Ramos' throw to first base getting away from Dash Winningham, allowing Yeltsin Gudino to score on the play to make it 5-2.
The Southern Illinois bullpen took care of the rest- Jake Waters struck out one in two perfect innings in his Miners debut, and Will Headean threw a scoreless eighth inning, setting up Gabe Gentner, who worked a perfect ninth inning for his 11th save, striking out Chaz Meadows to end the game and even the series.
Friday's Game: Epic rally in ninth comes up short at Joliet
JOLIET -- The Southern Illinois Miners came into the top of the ninth inning trailing the Joliet Slammers by eight runs, and nearly came all the way back with a tremendous push in the final frame, but ended up on the wrong side of a 10-9 final score at DuPage Medical Group Field.
Joliet grabbed the lead in the second inning on a grand slam home run by Clayton Harp off Marty Anderson (5-4), then scored three more runs in the third and two additional runs in the fourth inning to build a 9-0 advantage. Southern Illinois' offense, meanwhile, was held to no hits through the first five innings by Joliet starter Tyler Jones (2-2) before they got on the board and in the hit column on an RBI double by Ryan Stacy in the top of the sixth, making the score 9-1.
The Miners then loaded the bases in the seventh inning with one out on two hit batters and a walk to chase Jones, and Kirvin Moesquit brought in a run with a sacrifice fly to make it a 9-2 game. In the bottom of the eighth, a Riley Krane solo home run against Kyle Davis made the score 10-2, setting up the incredible final inning against Slammers reliever Matt Burleton.
Davis led off with an infield single and Taylor Sparks lined another single to left field, extending their hit streaks to 15 and 10 in a row, respectively. A rocket double by Arturo Nieto to center field then made the score 10-3, scoring pinch-runner Andy Cosgrove from second base. After a strikeout, Moesquit then tripled in two more runs to make the score 10-5. Stacy followed with his second RBI double of the game for a 10-6 deficit, and Yeltsin Gudino smacked a double of his own to plate him and make the score 10-7, extending his own hit streak to 12 in a row, and chasing Burleton from the game.
The Miners were still not done. The Slammers brought in Mario Samuel, and after another strikeout for the second out of the inning, Jamey Smart lined an RBI double down the right field line to make it 10-8 and bring the tying run to the plate. Cosgrove then hit a fly ball to left field that dropped to the turf between the defense, scoring Smart and making it 10-9. Unfortunately, that is where the rally would end, as Sparks flew out to left field to end the game with the tying run at first base.
Stacy finished 2-for-3 with a pair of doubles and RBIs off the bench, while Moesquit drove in a season-high three runs and also scored two others for the Miners to lead the charge. Cosgrove, Nieto, Smart and Gudino each had a run scored and RBI in the big ninth inning as well.