The Southern Illinois Miners fell 5-1 to the Normal CornBelters on Thursday night at Rent One Park in the rubber match of the three-game series as the visitors won the set two games to one.
After a scoreless first two innings by Robby Rowland and Scott Sebald on the mound for their respective teams in front of an announced crowd of 6,395 on "Stand Up For Blue" Law Enforcement Appreciation Night, Normal broke through in the third inning with two outs when Brian Hakes was hit by a pitch and Yeixon Ruiz followed with a triple to make it 1-0. Santiago Chirino then singled up the middle to score Ruiz and double the lead to 2-0.
Rowland (0-1) settled down from there to throw scoreless frames in the fourth and fifth innings, but Normal would chase him in the top of the sixth. After two straight singles opened the frame, Justin Fletcher laid down a sacrifice bunt to third base which was thrown wide of first for an error, bringing home a run and making the score 3-0. Deigo Cedeno followed with an RBI groundout for a 4-0 lead, and Miguel Torres' RBI double extended the advantage to 5-0 in favor of the CornBelters.
Southern Illinois got on the board in the bottom of the sixth inning on a solo home run by Ryan Sluder off of Sebald (7-1) to cut the deficit to 5-1, but the Miners got no closer as despite having a runner on base in every inning of the game, they could not muster the clutch hit, going 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position and leaving 11 men on base for the contest.
Romeo Cortina finished 3-for-4 in the game while Anthony Critelli went 2-for-3 with a double for Southern Illinois offensively, and the Miners also received scoreless relief from their bullpen, with Paul Young, Tre Hobbs and Nick Palacioskeeping the game at 5-1, but it was not enough in the rubber match defeat as Sebald completed seven innings for the CornBelters to get the win, scattering six hits and four walks with four strikeouts.
Southern Illinois next treks to Evansville to begin a weekend series at Bosse Field against the Otters on Friday night at 6:35 p.m. Corey Sessions will open up the series on the hill for the Miners.
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.