The Southern Illinois Miners won their fourth game in a row and sixth in their last seven games overall in dramatic fashion on Friday night at Rent One Park, scoring four runs in the bottom of the ninth inning and walking off the River City Rascals 5-4 on Arturo Nieto's bases-clearing double.
River City grabbed the early lead when Braxton Martinez hit a solo home run off of Nick Stroud in the top of the second inning, and doubled the lead to 2-0 when Trevor Achenbach walked with two outs, went to third on a wild pitch, and scored on a single by Martinez in the third inning. A leadoff error in the fourth ended up leading to two unearned runs against Stroud when Andrew Bernstein walked two batters with the bases loaded, putting the visitors up 4-0.
Meanwhile, the Miners could not solve rookie right-hander Michael McCraith, who was making his professional debut in the game, as they were shut out on five hits through the first six innings. The comeback began when Chris Iriart slammed his second home run of the year, a solo shot leading off the seventh inning to the deficit to 4-1. They were unable to record another baserunner against the Rascals' bullpen until the ninth inning, and after Cody Thompson (1-1) worked around leadoff walks for scoreless innings in the top of the eighth and ninth, Southern Illinois came up to the plate looking to rally.
Against the Rascals' Yeison Medina (1-2), Gianfranco Wawoe led off with a single and Stephen Lohr walked to bring the tying run to the plate with no one out. Iriart struck out for the first out of the inning, but the rally continued when Kyle Davissingled to load the bases. Andy Cosgrove was called upon to pinch-hit off the bench, and also singled to bring in Wawoe and make it 4-2. Nieto then came up with the bases still loaded and the winning run at first base, and on an 0-2 pitch from Medina, the backstop socked a walk-off double to right-center field that cleared the bases and gave Southern Illinois the improbable comeback victory.
With their third walk-off win of the season, the Miners improved to 18-12 overall and 11-2 at Rent One Park in 2019, and also elevated themselves to just one game back of first-place Florence in the West Division standings.
They will seek another home series victory as well as a fifth consecutive win overall in the middle game of the series on Saturday, June 15, at 6:05 p.m.
The Southern Illinois Miners are the Frontier League's most-successful 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.southernillinoisminers.com.