The Southern Illinois Miners jumped in front early on Wednesday night against the River City Rascals at CarShield Field, but the home team came back and took the lead while the Miners' offense could not produce enough to come back themselves in a 5-2 loss, evening the series at one game apiece.
The Miners got back-to-back hits from Joe Duncan and Romeo Cortina to lead off the ballgame in the first inning, and after Chance Shepard walked to load the bases, Luke Bonfield gave Southern Illinois a 1-0 lead with a sacrifice fly to left-center field. Unfortunately, despite re-loading the bases later in the inning against Dan Ludwig (4-4), the Miners could not plate any more runs, and in the bottom of the inning, with two outs, Paul Kronenfeld's RBI double made it 1-1.
The Rascals would grab the lead in the bottom of the third inning on a two-run line-drive homer by Trevor Achenbach at 3-1 against Miners starter Steven Ridings, and extended it when James Morisano's fly ball to right-center field carried just over the fence for a solo shot and a 4-1 lead. That would be all Ridings (9-7) allowed in seven innings of work, as the right-hander walked no one and struck out eight to keep the team in striking distance.
But the offense dried up in the middle innings, and Southern Illinois did not score again until the ninth. After River City made it 5-1 with an unearned run in the eighth inning, with two outs in the ninth inning, Jake Willsey and Marc DiLeo worked walks before Duncan drove home Willsey with an RBI single to make it 5-2 and bring the tying run to the plate. Cody Mincey, however, got Cortina to fly out to left to end the game.
Both Duncan and Cortina finished with two hits in the game, but the Miners' offense was limited to only five total hits in the game as the Rascals evened up the series, setting up a critical rubber match on Thursday, August 30th, at CarShield Field. Jordan Brink will make the start against his former team, while Hector Hermandez will throw 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.