July 20, 2017 - Frontier League (FL) - Southern Illinois Miners
Marion, Ill. - The Southern Illinois Miners got two home runs off the bat of rookie outfielder Romeo Cortina to help mount a comeback on Wednesday night against the Washington Wild Things, but an early deficit proved too great to overcome in a 9-7 loss at Rent One Park.
Washington scored four times in the top of the first to take the lead immediately, and added two more in the top of the second with three of the six total tallies unearned off of Damon Proctor (0-2) thanks to three Miners errors. Down 6-0 entering the bottom of the second, Craig Massoni and Willi Martin both singled against Washington starter Brian O'Keefe (3-4) before Cortina came up and blasted a deep, three-run homer to cut the deficit in half and make the score 6-3. It was his first professional homer in his fifth game with Southern Illinois.
After the game settled down, Cortina came up again in the bottom of the fourth with two outs and clobbered a second home run, this time off the foul pole in the left field corner to make the score 6-4 Washington. The Wild Things would answer, however, on a two-out, two-run single by Trevin Sonnier off Corey Sessions in the top of the fifth to make it 8-4, then extended the lead one final time out to 9-4 on a fielder's choice by Hector Roa in the sixth inning.
Nevertheless, the Miners fought back, as Nolan Earley extended his on-base streak to 19 games in a row with a deep RBI double to center field that scored Culver Plant from first base and made the score 9-5 in the bottom of the seventh inning. In the next frame, with two outs, London Lindley singled and Brett Wiley walked before Ryan Lashley drove them both in on a double to deep left as Southern Illinois got within 9-7. But that would be the closest the Miners would come as the Wild Things evened the midweek series at one game apiece.
Both teams had 12 hits in the offensive-minded game, including a combined seven total extra-base hits. Massoni and Cortina both had three hits in the contest, with Cortina tying a Miners season-high with four RBIs. Lashley also finished 2-for-5 with two runs driven in, while on the mound, the Miners' pitching staff struck out 13 Wild Things batters to set a new high-water mark in 2017, including a run of seven in a row in the seventh through ninth innings.
The two sides will face off in a Thursday rubber match at 7:05 p.m. in Marion, with Chris Washington getting the assignment on the mound for the Miners against Washington's Trevor Foss.