The Southern Illinois Miners got their second quality start in a row on Wednesday night against the Joliet Slammers, this time from Kurt Heyer, but for the second night in a row fell behind in the early innings and could not come back in a 4-2 loss at Rent One Park.
Joliet scored a run in the first inning on one of three RBI hits in the game by Danny Zardon to take a 1-0 lead, and added to that lead in the second inning on a sacrifice fly by Ridge Hoopii-Haslam to make it 2-0. Southern Illinois got that run right back as Chance Shepard hit his Frontier League-leading 10th homer of the season off Joliet starter Duke von Schamann (4-1) to cut the deficit to 2-1, and that's the way it stayed until the fifth.
In that inning, a leadoff error on Marc DiLeo eventually led to an unearned run against Heyer (2-3) when Zardon lined his second hit of the day into center field with two outs for a 3-1 Joliet lead. Again the Miners would respond, as in the bottom of the sixth, Nolan Earley hit the Miners' second homer of the night, another solo shot, to once again make it a one-run game at 3-2.
But the Slammers would get the run back right away in the seventh inning, this time on back-to-back two out doubles from L.J. Kalawaia and Zardon to push the lead out to 4-2 for the final margin.
Von Schamann got the win for the Slammers, allowing six hits and two runs in six innings of work. Heyer also pitched well in the contest for Southern Illinois, and ended up completing a season-best six and two-thirds innings in the game, tying a season-high with seven strikeouts and allowing three earned runs for the Miners, with rookies Michael Starcevich and Aaron Rozek holding the visitors off the board late. But the Miners' bats could not get going against the Slammers bullpen, either, as Joliet claimed the series by winning the first two games.
The Miners will try and avoid a sweep on Thursday night at 7:05 p.m., with Billy Griffin pitching for Southern Illinois and Scot Hoffmann going for Joliet.
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.