The Southern Illinois Miners could not come up with the big hit they needed on Sunday night against the Gateway Grizzlies, stranding 11 men on base, including the tying run in scoring position in each of the last four innings of the game, in a 2-1 loss at Rent One Park to drop the series two games to one.
Pitching dominated the game, with Steven Ridings and Taso Stathopoulos shutting out the opposing team through the first four innings. Gateway broke through with two outs in the fifth, however, as Shane Mardirosian's two-out RBI single made it 1-0. One inning later, Trae Santos lifted a solo home run over the left field wall to make it a 2-0 score.
Stathopoulos (2-5) held the Miners to only one infield hit in the first five frames before Southern Illinois got on the board- Joe Duncan led off the sixth inning with a walk, and two batters later, Nolan Earley and Chance Shepard hit back-to-back singles, with Shepard picking up the RBI to cut the deficit in half and make the score 2-1.
But that was the closest the Miners got despite several opportunities to bring in the equalizer- they had runners at first and second base with one out after scoring their run in the sixth, a runner at second base in the seventh, and two men on base with one out in both the eighth and ninth innings against Grant Black, but stranded eight runners in those innings in total in suffering the close defeat.
Ridings (8-6) took the loss despite another quality start for the Miners on the bump, permitting only two runs on seven scattered hits and two walks along with eight strikeouts. Shepard also finished with two of the Miners' five hits and the lone RBI as Southern Illinois lost the series in close fashion, with all three games being decided by two runs or fewer.
The Miners will have a day off on Monday before traveling to Evansville for a three-game set against the rival Otters beginning on Tuesday night, August 21st, at 6:35 p.m. Kurt Heyer will take the mound in the series opener for Southern Illinois.
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.