The Southern Illinois Miners took an early lead, fell behind in the middle frames, and attempted a rally late for the second night in a row against the River City Rascals, but again fell short in an 6-4 loss at Rent One Park in Marion as the visitors swept the weekend series.
For the third time in as many nights, it was the Miners scoring first, this time on back-to-back, two-out doubles by Craig Massey and Nolan Earley in the bottom of the first inning off River City starter Tim Koons (3-3) for a 1-0 lead. Again, River City got the run back and tied the score at 1-1 in the next half-inning, the top of the second, on an RBI groundout by Josh Bunselmeyer, and again the Miners scored an unearned run in the bottom half of the same frame to take a 2-1 lead, this time on an RBI infield hit by London Lindley.
After two scoreless innings, the Rascals grabbed the lead for good on a two-run triple by Mike Jurgella after two hit batters by Zach Cooper (2-7) in the top of the fifth, making the score 3-2 River City. The Rascals would plate an additional run on an RBI single by Johnny Morales in the sixth inning, and then made the score 5-2 on an error by Austin Dubsky with two outs in the top of the seventh inning. In the bottom half of the seventh, the Miners got within a run when Lindley doubled leading off and Ryan Lashley drove a two-run home run over the left-center field wall to chase Koons from the game and make the score 5-4 Rascals.
But River City would score a controversial run in the top of the eighth to widen their lead to 6-4, as after Clint Freeman reached on a single, he broke for second base, but stopped in the baseline on a swing and miss by Bunselmeyer. Attempting to go back to first base, the throw from Brett Wiley appeared to beat the runner, but Freeman was called safe on the play. Two batters later, Brandon Thomas' broken-bat single into center field scored Freeman for the final margin. The Miners got the tying run on base in the ninth inning when Massey and Earley kept the game alive with two-out singles, but stranded them as they suffered their fifth straight loss.
Earley led the charge by going 3-for-5 with a double, with Lindley and Massey also doubling as part of two-hit nights. Craig Massoni also finished with two hits in the game as the Miners out-hit River City 11 to nine, but stranded 10 runners on the basepaths, seven of which in scoring position, in the contest.
Southern Illinois continues their homestand with a three-game series at Rent One Park this week against the Washington Wild Things beginning on Tuesday night at 7:05 p.m.
The Southern Illinois Miners are the 2016 Frontier League West Division Champions, the 2014 and 2015 Frontier League East Division Champions and the 2012 Frontier League Champions. 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 2007, their inaugural season. For ticket information, contact the Rent One Park box office at (618) 998-8499. For any additional information, visit our website at www.southernillinoisminers.com.