The Southern Illinois Miners went back-and-forth on Saturday night with the River City Rascals at Rent One Park, came back to tie the score in the bottom of the eighth and send the contest to extra innings, but fell in 11 innings by a final score of 6-5.
The Miners again scored first when Ben Moore tripled to right-center field in the bottom of the second inning to score Craig Massoni from first base and make it 1-0. River City scored that run back in the third on an RBI single by Jimmy Kerrigan, but Southern Illinois took the lead back at 2-1 on a sacrifice fly by Ryan Lashley in the same inning. The Rascals, however, took a 3-2 lead on a two-run single by Braxton Martinez in the top of the fourth inning, and would hold that lead until the eighth inning.
In the meantime, Chris Washington finished with a quality start, permitting three runs in six innings of work. The Miners' bullpen also kept the Rascals off the scoreboard, with Paul Young and Kyle Grana working scoreless innings in their Miners debuts with five combined strikeouts in the seventh and eighth innings. Offensively, in the bottom half of the eighth, after getting the tying run in scoring position in the fifth, sixth and seventh, Southern Illinois broke through when Moore came up with two outs and tied the game with a big RBI single at 3-3.
The game stayed tied through the ninth inning and went to extra frames. Southern Illinois got a runner in scoring position in the ninth, and loaded the bases in the tenth thanks to a leadoff walk as well as a two-out error and hit batter in consecutive at-bats, but could not score either time. In the 11th, with the International Tiebreaker in effect, the Rascals brought home the go-ahead run on an RBI groundout by Jimmy Kerrigan, and extended their lead to 6-3 on a two-out, two-run home run by Mike Jurgella that scored what proved to be the winning run.
In the bottom half of the inning, an RBI double by Craig Massey scored the automatic runner from third base and made the score 6-4. After a walk and a fielder's choice put runners at first and third base, with the tying run at first, Massoni singled to left field to make the score 6-5 and put the tying run in scoring position. But a fielder's choice ended the game and sent the Miners to their fourth straight loss.
Moore finished 2-for-5 with two RBIs, with London Lindley and Massey also knocking two hits apiece in the defeat. The Miners will try and salvage the series finale on Sunday at 5:05 p.m. against the Rascals, starting Zach Cooper on the mound against River City's Tim Koons.
The Southern Illinois Miners are the 2016 Frontier League West Division Champions, the 2014 and 2015 Frontier League East Division Champions and the 2012 Frontier League Champions. They have been awarded the Frontier League Organization of the Year award three times since their inception, and also set a new Frontier League attendance record in 2007, their inaugural season. For ticket information, contact the Rent One Park box office at (618) 998-8499. For any additional information, visit our website at www.southernillinoisminers.com.