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Grizzlies Top Miners in Opener

July 17, 2019 - Frontier League (FL) - Gateway Grizzlies News Release

MARION, Ill. - The Gateway Grizzlies scored five unanswered runs over the first four innings Tuesday night and held on for a 5-3 win over the Southern Illinois Miners at Rent One Park.

Gateway (23-32) won its second straight game and improved to 3-1 this season in Marion, where they had won fewer than 40 percent of their games all-time prior to 2019.

Connor Owings opened the scoring with an RBI double in the first inning, after which Dustin Woodcock and Zak Taylor later had back-to-back RBI singles with two outs. All three Grizzlies runs were unearned after a Southern Illinois (28-26) error allowed Brent Sakurai to reach base and start the rally.

Gateway has scored in the first inning in six of its last seven games with a total of 10 first-inning runs over that span.

Jordan Barrett (2-4) tossed 5 2/3 innings and allowed only one run on four hits en route to his first victory since May 16, exactly two months ago. He struck out five and walked four. After they started 1-8 in his starts, the Grizzlies have won back-to-back Barrett outings.

Brent Sakurai extended the Grizzlies' lead to 5-0 with a two-run double in the top of the fourth inning.

Southern Illinois battled back in the bottom of the fourth when Kyle Davis tripled to lead off the inning and - with Barrett a strike away from extricating himself from the rally - Anthony Jimenez singled him home.

Grant Black entered from the Grizzlies' bullpen with two outs and nobody on base in the sixth inning and proceeded to retire all four Miners he faced.

Davis caused more problems for the Grizzlies with a two-out, two-run homer tucked inside the left-field foul pole in the eighth inning. Jason Seever recorded the final out of the inning to earn a hold in relief of Dakota Smith.

Geoff Bramblett finished the game with a 1-2-3 ninth inning and another strikeout. He converted his third save in as many opporunities. Over four appearances in July, Bramblett has retired all 13 batters he's faced (four from Evansville, six from Florence, and three from Southern Illinois) with seven strikeouts.

Taylor had the Grizzlies' only multi-hit game with two singles. Anthony Ray had a single and two walks to go with a run scored. Owings added two walks to his RBI double.

Gateway and Southern Illinois will conclude their three-game series with a doubleheader Wednesday starting at 5:05 p.m. CDT.

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