The Southern Illinois Miners fell behind in the first inning and trailed for the first eight frames for the second night in a row at GCS Credit Union Ballpark, but again made a comeback, scoring the last five runs of the game, including three in the ninth, to erase a 6-2 deficit after six innings and stun the Gateway Grizzlies 7-6.
Gateway again grabbed the lead by scoring two runs in the first inning against Austin Dubsky on an RBI single by Matt Brown and a sacrifice fly by Andrew Daniel, with the Miners responding with two outs in the top of the second on an RBI single by Cletis Avery to cut their deficit to 2-1. But the Grizzlies answered by scoring two more runs against Dubsky in the bottom of the frame, including the second RBI hit by Brown of the game, to make it 4-1 after two innings.
Again Southern Illinois scored to make it a two-run game in the top of the fourth on a sacrifice fly by Kyle Davis, but again Gateway answered thanks to an RBI double by Brown in the bottom half, making the score 5-2. The Grizzlies then pushed the lead out to 6-2 against Andrew Bernstein in the fifth inning on an RBI single by Luis Roman, and after neither team scored in the sixth inning, the Miners began their comeback in the seventh.
Arturo Nieto led off the frame with a single and Bryant Flete walked two batters later. A wild pitch by Ryan Madden moved the runners to second and third base, and with two outs in the inning, Gianfranco Wawoe came up clutch with a two-run double just inside the third base bag to cut the deficit in half and make it 6-4. Jake Godfrey and Benjamin Dum (1-0) threw scoreless frames in the bottom of the seventh and eighth, respectively, setting up the Miners' rally in the ninth.
For the second night in a row, Gateway brought in Dakota Smith (0-2) to close the game, and for the second night in a row the Miners came all the way back against him. Duncan singled and Flete walked to lead off the frame, and were sacrificed to second and third base by Anthony Jimenez. Wawoe was then hit by a pitch to load the bases, and Stephen Lohr drew a walk to force in a run and make it 6-5. Jamey Smart then came up, and the newest Miner- traded to the team from the Grizzlies just one day earlier- made the score 7-6 Southern Illinois with a two-run, go-ahead double to left-center field.
Gabe Gentner followed by nailing down his eighth save with a perfect bottom of the ninth as the Miners clinched the series in Sauget in dramatic fashion. Southern Illinois will now go for the series sweep on Sunday night, June 30, at 6:05 p.m., sending Marty Anderson to the mound against Gateway's Ian Kahaloa.
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.