The Southern Illinois Miners got their bats going on Saturday night at GCS Credit Union Ballpark in Sauget, hitting four home runs in the first four innings and scoring at least once in each of the first six frames to get out to a comfortable lead and beat the Gateway Grizzlies 10-6 for their fourth win in their last five games.
The offensive onslaught began immediately. Joe Duncan was hit by the second pitch of the game from Gateway starter Taso Stathopoulos (1-5), and Kyle Davis followed with a two-run blast over the left field fence to put Southern Illinois up 2-0. Duncan would contribute a sacrifice fly in the second inning to score Luke Bonfield and make it 3-0, and the Miners would continue the power surge in the third inning when both Romeo Cortina and Jake Willsey hit two-run home runs over the left field fence, pushing the Miners' lead out to 7-0. For Willsey, it was his first home run as a professional, and the offense did not stop in the middle frames.
In the top of the fourth with one out, Davis came up and slammed another home run out to left, a solo shot to make it 8-0. After Gateway scored an unearned run to get on the board against Austin Dubsky (4-4) in the bottom half, Cortina led off the fifth with a double and Bonfield doubled him in for his first professional run batted in and a 9-1 Southern Illinois advantage.
Gateway and the Miners kept going back and forth in the fifth and sixth, as a three-run rally by the Grizzlies in the fifth was answered when Chance Shepard smacked an RBI single to center field in the sixth to score Duncan from third base and push the lead out to 10-4. The Grizzlies also scratched across runs in the sixth and seventh innings to slice the Miners' lead to 10-6, but could get no closer as Southern Illinois clinched the series.
Davis led the way offensively with his two home runs, going 2-for-5 with three RBIs. Cortina also finished 3-for-4, along with two runs scored and two RBIs, and Bonfield contributed a double, two runs scored and one RBI in going 3-for-4 himself. Willsey doubled and homered in going 2-for-5 with two RBIs as well, and Shepard posted two hits in going 2-for-5 with an RBI as the Miners amassed 13 hits as a team and took control of the game with their bats.
Southern Illinois will next set their sights on a series sweep on Sunday, August 12th, at 6:05 p.m., sending Geno Encina to the mound against Gateway right-hander Alec Kisena.
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.