The Southern Illinois Miners rose up in the bottom of the eighth inning on Saturday night at Rent One Park, scoring three runs with two outs in the frame on four consecutive singles and a wild pitch to stun the Windy City ThunderBolts 4-2.
The game was a pitcher's duel between the Miners' Michael Austin and Windy City ace Tyler Thornton. Austin cracked first in the top of the third inning, as after retiring the first seven ThunderBolts hitters he faced, he allowed an automatic double to Zac Taylor followed by an RBI triple off the bat of Payton Robertson and a sacrifice fly by Zach Racusin, making the score 2-0 Windy City.
Thornton, meanwhile, limited the Miners to just one hit in the first four innings before Southern Illinois got on the board in the fifth. Anthony Brocato led off with a walk and Luke Mangieri singled before Arturo Nieto laid down a bunt to sacrifice the runners to second and third base. Jarrod Watkins then hit a sacrifice fly to right field to cut the deficit in half and make the score 2-1 Windy City.
The Miners were able to put the tying run on base in the sixth and seventh innings against Thornton, but were not able to tie the game until the eighth, when Thornton departed in favor of right-hander Dylan Prohoroff (0-2). He got a strikeout and a groundout to shortstop to begin the inning, but the Miners then mounted their comeback. Nolan Earley started it with a single away from a defensive shift into left-center field, and Jared Mang then battled through an eight-pitch at-bat before singling himself to move the tying run to third base.
Ian Walters then came up clutch, grounding an RBI single into left field past the dive of the shortstop to knot the score at 2-2, chasing Prohoroff from the game and putting runners at second and third base again. Windy City then brought in Stetson Woods, and the first pitch he threw sailed off the glove of John Sechen behind the plate, scoring Mang and making it 3-2 before Brocato scored Walters on another RBI single for a 4-2 lead.
Joey Pulido would then nail down the save with a scoreless top of the ninth as the Miners recorded their tenth come-from-behind win of the season, evening up the weekend series at one game apiece. Southern Illinois will now look to win the series in the rubber game on Sunday, July 25, at 5:05 p.m. Former ThunderBolt Zac Westcott will start against his former team for the third time this season opposite Windy City's Kenny Mathews, who will make his third start against Southern Illinois this year as well.
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. In addition, they have sent 60 players to MLB organizations in their 14 years of operation. For ticket information, contact the box office at (618) 998-8499. For additional information, visit our website at www.southernillinoisminers.com.