The Southern Illinois Miners fell behind early against the Lake Erie Crushers at Rent One Park, as the visitors scored all five of their runs in the first five innings and turned aside a late push for a 5-3 result on Sunday night, dropping the Miners to 2-1 on the young season.
An RBI groundout by Sean Hurley got the Crushers on the board in the first inning against Miners starter Geno Encina, and they added a second run in the second inning on a two-out double by Aaron Hill. After a scoreless third inning by Encina (0-1), Lake Erie pushed across a pair of runs to make it 4-0 in the fourth inning, then widened the advantage to 5-0 in the fifth before the Miners would rally in the bottom half of the frame.
An infield single by Luis Jean with one out and a walk by Corey Dempster set up John Holland, who lifted a double down the left field line, scoring both baserunners and making the score 5-2. Two batters later, after a throwing error by catcher Bryan De La Rosa put Holland at third base, Hill threw wide of first base on a grounder by Joe Dudek, bringing home Holland and getting the Miners within two at 5-3.
In the late innings, Chris Washington tied a career-high with six strikeouts in only three innings of relief work to keep the Crushers off-balance, but the Miners also could not push across a run to come back late, suffering their first loss of the season.
After an off-day on Monday, Southern Illinois heads to Schaumburg to tangle with the reigning Frontier League Champion Boomers at 6:30 p.m. Billy Griffin will start in his Miners debut against right-hander Joe Hauser for Schaumburg.
The Southern Illinois Miners are the Frontier League's winningest 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.siminers.com.