The Southern Illinois Miners broke a scoreless tie in the top of the sixth inning when Luke Bonfield doubled in what would become the only run of the game, backing a stellar seven-inning start by Austin Dubsky and netting the Miners a 1-0 shutout victory as well as a road series win over the River City Rascals on Thursday night at CarShield Field.
Both teams threatened with runners at first and third base in the first inning against the other's starter, but the Miners came up empty against former Southern Illinois southpaw Dan Ludwig, and Dubsky (5-4) induced an inning-ending double-play ground ball back to the mound to hold the Rascals scoreless. The right-hander would retire the next 10 batters that he faced, settling into a groove.
Southern Illinois' offense got runners on in every inning against Ludwig (2-4), but could not break through until the sixth inning. Chance Shepard led off with a walk, and after a lineout to right field for the first out, Romeo Cortina's groundout to second baseman Trevor Achenbach moved Shepard safely to second base. Bonfield then came up huge, as the rookie outfielder parked a go-ahead double into the left field corner to make it 1-0 Southern Illinois.
That would end up being all the offense the Miners needed- Dubsky pitched into the eighth inning on the night, walking three and allowing just three hits while striking out six batters to flummox the River City offense. The Rascals would threaten in the eighth after Dubsky departed following a leadoff single by Clint Freeman, as with two outs in the frame after two pop-outs were induced by Zach Hartman, they loaded the bases on a single by J.D. Hearn and a walk by Achenbach, putting the tying and potential go-ahead runs in scoring position. But Hartman would strike out Tuesday night's walk-off hero Paul Kronenfeld looking to preserve the 1-0 lead.
In the ninth against John Werner, Mike Jurgella led off with a walk, and the potential tying run moved to second base after a pop-out and a fielder's choice along with an error. With two outs in the inning, however, Werner got Freeman to fly out to left field to end the game, notching his seventh save of the season and securing the two-games-to-one series victory for Southern Illinois after they had dropped the opener on Tuesday.
Bonfield would finish 3-for-4 in the game with the lone RBI as Southern Illinois held the Rascals to just four hits, outpacing them nine to four in that category on the night. Having now won seven of their last nine games overall, the Miners will head back home to begin a three-game series against the Gateway Grizzlies on Friday, August 16th, at 7:05 p.m. Geno Encina will toe the rubber in the series opener against Gateway's Alec Kisena at Rent One Park.
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.