The Southern Illinois Miners came all the way back from down eight runs in the seventh inning to tie up the game in the eighth against the Schaumburg Boomers on Saturday night, but ended up losing 12-11 in the bottom of the ninth when Matt Rose hit a walk-off single with two outs to close out an instant classic at Boomers Stadium.
Schaumburg took the lead immediately in the first inning against Greg Marino, as Jack Parenty led off with a double and Jimmy Galusky followed with a two-run home run to put the Boomers up 2-0. The Miners got a run right back in the top of the second when Joe Duncan hit a ground ball to the shortstop that Alex Polston booted for an error, scoring Jarrod Watkins and making it 2-1.
The Boomers would then bat around and score six times in the third inning to lead 8-1, and maintained that margin for the middle innings- the Miners scored a run in the fifth on a sacrifice fly by Kyle Davis to make it 8-2, but the Boomers answered in the bottom half on an RBI hit by Zach Taylor for a 9-2 lead. Again Southern Illinois plated a run in the sixth on a wild pitch to get within 9-3, but again Schaumburg answered back with a pair of runs in the bottom half to take their largest lead of the night at 11-3 through six full innings.
That is when the Miners began a remarkable comeback. After Davis walked to lead off the seventh, Alex Santana crushed a two-run homer to pull the Miners within 11-5. Then, in the eighth, they would rally all the way back by batting around themselves- back-to-back leadoff singles and a fielder's choice plus an error loaded the bases with no one out for Gianfranco Wawoe, who hit a sacrifice fly to right field to make it 11-6. After a pitching change, Davis drove in another run with a single to make it 11-7 before Santana popped out for the second out of the inning.
The comeback continued, however, as Watkins walked to load the bases for pinch-hitter Stephen Lohr, and he promptly doubled down the first base line to score a pair of runs and make it 11-9. With the tying runs in scoring position, Arturo Nieto then hit a ground ball toward Rose at third base, and he booted it for another error, bringing in Watkins and Lohr to tie the game at 11-11.
Unfortunately, the Miners also stranded the bases loaded in the eighth, and after two scoreless half innings, the Boomers rallied to win the game in the bottom of the ninth against Gabe Gentner. Three softly-hit singles loaded the bases with one out, but Gentner (2-1) bore down and struck out Brock Carpenter looking for the second out. He then got ahead with two strikes on Rose, but the Schaumburg third baseman lined a walk-off single to right-center field to end the game and send the Miners to their second-straight loss.
Southern Illinois will look to avoid a sweep in the Sunday finale of the three-game series at 1:05 p.m., with Chase Cunningham on the mound against the Boomers' Orlando Rodriguez to close out the road trip.
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.