The Southern Illinois Miners kept their win streak going, leading wire-to-wire thanks to early offense and a career-high eight innings from Ryan McAuliffe to capture their seventh straight win and eleventh victory in their last 13 games overall by a final score of 6-2 over the Gateway Grizzlies at GCS Credit Union Ballpark.
In the first inning, the Miners gave McAuliffe (4-3) the lead before he even took the mound, as Yeltsin Gudino walked and Jamey Smart singled before Kyle Davis crushed his team-leading 11th homer of the season, a three-run shot to put Southern Illinois up 3-0.
That ended up being all that the right-hander needed. McAuliffe carved up the Grizzlies lineup throughout the game, shutting them out through the first five innings on just two hits, and retiring 13 batters in a row at one point en route to a career-high eight innings pitched with just one run allowed on five hits along with no walks and four strikeouts. The lone run he surrendered was to Anthony Ray on a leadoff home run in the sixth inning, as he won his third consecutive start on the mound.
Southern Illinois was able to pad their lead in the middle frames as well- with runners at first and second base against starter Reign Letkeman (3-3) in the fourth inning, the Grizzlies chose to walk Omar Obregon intentionally to load the bases for Gudino with one out, and Gudino made Gateway pay with a two-run single that pushed the lead out to 5-0. Southern Illinois also loaded the bases in the fifth with no outs, and Joe Duncan brought in the Miners' sixth and final run on a fielder's choice, making the score 6-0 at the time.
Gateway would score their final run on a Luke Lowery solo home run in the top of the ninth inning, but would get no closer than four runs as the Miners clinched the series victory by taking the first three games of the four game set, their fourth-straight series win. Southern Illinois will look to sweep the series on Thursday, August 8, at 7:05 p.m. before returning home for the weekend, with Cole Cook pitching for the Miners against the Grizzlies' Dominic Topoozian.
The Southern Illinois Miners are the Frontier League's most-successful 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.southernillinoisminers.com.