The Southern Illinois Miners won their third straight game and eighth in their last nine overall by a score of 5-4 at The Corn Crib in Normal against the Normal CornBelters thanks to stellar starting pitching by Austin Dubsky and early offense, taking the series by winning the first two in the weekend set.
After Dubsky (2-0) retired the side in order in the first inning, the Miners' offense went to work against Normal starter Kevin Matthews (0-3). Nolan Earley led off with the first of three walks he would draw in the game, and Ben Moore singled after a wild pitch to put runners at first and third base for Dougie Parks, who hit a two-run double down the left field line for a 2-0 lead. Later in the inning, John Holland's single would drive in another run, with Joe Dudek's fielder's choice completing the scoring in the frame and making it 4-0.
That's all Dubsky would need in the early part of the game, as he held the Normal offense to just one hit and no runs over his first six innings with four strikeouts in his first start of the year. In the top of the seventh inning, Romeo Cortina added to that advantage by laying down a bunt single. The pitcher at the time, Jose Savinon, threw low to first base and when the ball rolled all the way down into the bullpen, Cortina circled the bases and made it 5-0.
That would prove to be the winning run as well, as the CornBelters came back with two runs in the seventh inning to make it 5-3, and then scored two more in the eighth to cut the Miners' lead to one run, setting themselves up with runners at second and third base with just one out in the inning. But the Miners would halt Normal from there, as Chris Washington was summoned from the bullpen with the tying and potential go-ahead runs in scoring position, and he retired Derrick Bauer and Sammy Vega on a groundout to first and a strikeout to keep the Miners in front.
Washington then retired the side in order in the ninth inning to record his first career save as the Miners won the contest and took the road series. Dubsky finished with six-plus innings of work to get the win, allowing just one hit and one earned run with two walks and four strikeouts.
The Miners will conclude their six-game road trip on Sunday night at 6:05 p.m. as they go for a sweep of the CornBelters before coming back to Marion this week. Kurt Heyer gets the starting nod for the Miners against Normal's Jacinto Garcia.
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.