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 re-take 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.
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.