The Southern Illinois Miners scored a tiebreaking run in the top of the eighth inning on a groundout by Kyle Davis, and combined that with solid pitching to grab a 2-1 win over the Washington Wild Things at Wild Things Park, clinching the best-of-three road series. With the victory, the Miners' 49th of the 2019 season, they also ensured that they will finish with a winning record for the 12th time in their 13-year history.
Southern Illinois got off to a quick start in the game- Yeltsin Gudino and Gianfranco Wawoe singled to lead off against Washington starter Michael Austin, and Jamey Smart walked to load the bases with none out in the top of the first inning. Davis then brought in the Miners' initial run on a double play ground ball to shortstop, making the score 1-0. The Wild Things were able to tie the score in the bottom of the third inning, as Shaine Hughes scored J.R. Davis with an RBI single to make it 1-1.
Thanks to outstanding pitching by both teams, it stayed that way until the eighth. Frank Moscatiello pitched five innings for the Miners, and worked around jams in the early part of the game by striking out four and stranding eight runners on base in the first four frames. Austin, meanwhile, gave up just two baserunners in his final five innings of work for the Wild Things, taking a no-decision after seven strong frames with six strikeouts.
James Meeker (2-3) came in for the eighth, and with one out, Wawoe and Smart hit back-to-back singles to put runners at first and third base. Davis then came up and broke his bat on a slow ground ball to shortstop, avoiding the double play and scoring Wawoe from third to make it 2-1 Miners.
The Miners' bullpen did the rest, with Will Headean pitching a flawless eighth inning and Gabe Gentner working a scoreless ninth inning for his 12th save of the season. They combined with Heath Renz and Jake Godfrey (2-1) to allow the Wild Things just one base-runner over the final four innings of the game, as Southern Illinois secured the series victory by winning the first two games.
The Miners will now go for a series sweep in their final road game of the 2019 regular season at Washington on Sunday, August 25, at 4:35 p.m. Chase Cunningham will make the start for Southern Illinois, in what will be his first appearance back in Washington as a member of a visiting team after spending three seasons with the Wild Things.
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.