The Southern Illinois Miners bounced back on Wednesday evening against the River City Rascals behind a stout offensive effort, amassing 14 hits as a team along with nine runs in a 9-3 victory at CarShield Field, evening the weekend series against their West Division rivals.
The Miners grabbed the early lead for the second game in a row, this time in the top of the second inning when Nolan Earley hit his tenth home run of the season to the opposite field for a 1-0 advantage. Romeo Cortina immediately followed with a double against Rascals starter Justin Garcia (1-2), and Kurt Wertz, Jr. brought him in with a single for a 2-0 lead.
With Kurt Heyer shutting the Rascals out through five innings, the Miners' bats tacked on four more runs in the sixth inning on an RBI single by Joe Duncan, a sac fly by Kyle Davis, and a two-out, two-run home run by Chance Shepard, with the latter's 21st long ball of the year pushing the lead out to 6-0. That same inning, with two outs, the Rascals got to Heyer (7-6), scoring three times with six straight runners reaching base to cut the Miners' lead in half and make the score 6-3. They also loaded the bases, putting the tying run at first to threaten the Southern Illinois lead.
But Patrick Duester got the Miners out of trouble by inducing an inning-ending flyout to left field from Ransom LaLonde, and Southern Illinois would come up clutch to add on late against the Rascals' bullpen and pull away. In the seventh inning, Max Dutto singled with two outs to score Cortina from third base and make it 7-3, and in the next inning, it was Cortina and Wertz coming up with back-to-back, two-out, RBI singles to extend the lead out to 9-3. The Miners' bullpen held the Rascals' offense off the board to ensure the victory as well, Southern Illinois' 40th of the season to surpass their win total from a season ago.
Dutto led the charge in the Miners' 14-hit attack with a 3-for-4 game that included two doubles and an RBI, while Earley, Cortina, Wertz and Harrison Bragg added two hits apiece. Wertz and Shepard knocked in two runs each as well, as eight of the nine batters in the Miners' lineup finished with at least one hit, while seven scored at least one run and seven more added at least one RBI.
Southern Illinois will look to win the series on Thursday night, August 16th, at CarShield Field. Austin Dubsky will pitch in the rubber match of the three-game set, with former Miner Dan Ludwig opposing him for River City.
The Southern Illinois Miners are the Frontier League's winningest franchise since debuting in 2007, winning the 2012 Frontier League Championship as well as division titles in 2010, 2014, 2015 and 2016. 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 their inaugural season. For ticket information, contact the box office at (618) 998-8499. For additional information, visit our website at www.siminers.com.