The Southern Illinois Miners built a 3-1 lead in their Sunday finale at Gateway looking to sweep the series, but lost the lead in the seventh, and also could not hold a one-run lead in the eleventh in eventually falling to the Grizzlies 5-4 in twelve innings on a walk-off single by Connor Owings at GCS Credit Union Ballpark.
The Grizzlies again scored first in the contest on an RBI single in the third inning by Luke Lowery at 1-0, and loaded the bases with no one out against Marty Anderson, but the left-hander was able to hold the line at one run, and the Miners' offense capitalized in the next half inning against Grizzlies starter Ian Kahaloa. Back-to-back doubles leading off the top of the fourth by Stephen Lohr and Jamey Smart tied the game at 1-1, and Kyle Davis gave the Miners a 2-1 lead with another double. Joe Duncan capped the frame later with yet another double, the fourth of the inning, to put the Miners up 3-1.
Thanks to Anderson, the lead held until the seventh inning, when he departed with the tying runs in scoring position and one out. But Gunnar Buhner singled against Tyler Luneke to bring both runners in and tie the game at 3-3. Southern Illinois then had the lead run on base in the top of the eighth and ninth, but could not score, with Gateway throwing Bryant Flete out at home plate on a double by Anthony Jimenez in the eighth.
Thanks to near-flawless late relief pitching by Benjamin Dum and Jordan Brink, the game went to extra innings and made it to the eleventh still tied at 3-3. With the international tiebreaker in effect, Jimenez led off by advancing Flete to third base with a sacrifice bunt, and Gianfranco Wawoe was hit by a pitch followed by a Lohr walk to load the bases with only one out. Smart followed with another base-on-balls against his former teammate Geoff Bramblett (2-2) to make the score 4-3.
But the Miners were unable to score an additional run that inning, and with two outs in the bottom half, Brink surrendered a two-out, game-tying double to Zak Taylor to send the game to the twelfth inning. Southern Illinois failed to score in the top half of the twelfth, and in the bottom half, with two outs, Owings singled home the winning run to deny the Miners a weekend sweep in Sauget.
Southern Illinois now returns home for a day off on Monday before heading to Florence for a critical, four-game series against the first-place Freedom. The series will begin with a doubleheader on Tuesday, July 2, at 4:35 p.m. at UC Health Stadium.
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.