The Southern Illinois Miners won their fourth straight game on Friday night in Marion, scoring early and often to support a quality start from Jake Fisher in a 6-4 win against the Schaumburg Boomers at Rent One Park.
The Miners got things started quickly in the bottom of the first inning. Yeltsin Gudiño singled with one out and Nolan Earley was hit by a pitch before Ariel Sandoval singled to center field to make it 1-0 Miners. After a Luke Mangieri walk loaded the bases, Jared Mang beat a relay throw to first base for a fielder's choice, scoring Earley and making it 2-0 against Schaumburg starter Erik Martinez (0-1).
The Boomers were able to tie things up in the third against Fisher (4-8), using a leadoff hit-by-pitch and a double to put runners at second and third base before Chase Dawson reached on an error to make it 2-1. Quincy Nieporte's sacrifice fly then tied the score at 2-2, but that was all that Fisher would allow in the game over six innings, walking no one and striking out eight Boomers hitters in what became his fourth win of the season.
Southern Illinois would take the lead for good in the bottom of the third, as they led off with four straight singles, with Sandoval's second RBI hit of the game scoring Gudiño to make it 3-2. Mang followed later in the inning with a sacrifice fly, his second RBI of the night, and Ian Walters came up with a two-out RBI single immediately thereafter to extend the Miners' lead to 5-2.
After Fisher departed, the Boomers got a run home in the seventh inning on a sacrifice fly by Dawson to make it 5-3, and also had the tying runs on base with two outs. But Kenny Pierson got Braxton Davidson to line out to second base to end the threat, and Sandoval responded again in the bottom half with a long solo home run, his first as a Miner, to make it 6-3. The Boomers would also grab a run in the ninth against Joey Pulido on a two-out triple by Dawson and RBI single by McGarry, but would get no closer as the Miners' reliever earned his sixth save of the season.
Sandoval finished the night 4-for-4 with two runs scored and three RBIs to lead the charge for the Miners, who out-hit the Boomers 12-10 to take the series opener. With Gateway defeating Evansville as well, the Miners now stand 2.5 games back of first place in the West Division entering Saturday's action in the Frontier League.
The Miners will look to make it five wins in a row in the middle game against the Boomers on Saturday, August 21, at 4:05 p.m., with Michael Austin starting for Southern Illinois against Schaumburg's Kyle Arjona.
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.