The Southern Illinois Miners returned home from a 7-0 road trip and kept up their winning ways, getting out to a multi-run advantage early against the Schaumburg Boomers at Rent One Park and holding it for a 6-3 victory, their ninth in a row and thirteenth in their last 15 games overall.
With two outs and the bases empty in the second inning, the Miners made a rally- Arturo Nieto singled and Taylor Sparks rocketed an automatic double to center field. Joe Duncan then came up against former teammate Aaron Rozek (5-4), and lofted a single to left field, plating both runners and making the score 2-0. Southern Illinois kept up the scoring against the former Miner in the third when Yeltsin Gudino doubled and scored on an RBI single by Gianfranco Wawoe to make it a 3-0 game.
Chase Cunningham permitted just one baserunner in the first three innings, but the Boomers were able to cut into the lead in the fourth. With two outs, Quincy Nieporte and Nick Oddo struck for back-to-back RBI hits, slicing the Miners' lead to 3-2. But Cunningham (8-4) bore down and kept the home team in front, and ended up pitching a quality start of six and two-thirds innings, fanning eight and walking just two to earn his Frontier League-leading eighth victory of the season.
After the right-hander kept Southern Illinois in the lead in the top of the fourth, the Miners struck for three more runs in the bottom half, with Kyle Davis extending his hit streak to nine in a row with a leadoff single, and Nieto and Sparks following with a single and RBI automatic double, respectively, to make it a 4-2 game. Duncan brought in Nieto for a 5-2 lead with a ground ball to the mound, and then a wild pitch by Rozek scored Sparks from third base for a 6-2 cushion.
The Boomers were able to scratch across a run in the eighth inning to make it a three-run game, but would get no closer, with Jordan Brink striking out the side in the ninth for his sixth save of the season as the Miners tied their high-water mark on the year of 10 games over .500 at 43-33. Nieto, Sparks, Gudino and Wawoe each had a pair of hits in the 11-hit attack offensively to lead Southern Illinois to the victory, which also elevated the club to the first wild card playoff spot in the Frontier League standings.
The Miners will look to make their win streak ten in a row when they host the Boomers in the middle game of the series on Saturday, August 10, 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.