Miners Come Back Late to Sweep Windy City
Marion, IL - The Southern Illinois Miners were down for most of the game on Sunday against the Windy City ThunderBolts, but for the second time in three nights they rallied against the opposing bullpen, scoring three times in the seventh and twice more in the eighth for a 5-2 victory and a three-game series sweep at Rent One Park.
The Miners once again got outstanding starting pitching on the mound, this time from Ryan McAuliffe, who threw a career-best six innings, allowing just one run and one walk along with a career-high six strikeouts. He received a no-decision, however, as the ThunderBolts got a 1-0 lead in the top of the second inning on two straight two-out hits, with the RBI single by Tyler Straub putting the Miners behind.
They would remain behind against Windy City starter Adam Oller, who scattered five hits across six innings of shutout baseball with no walks and 11 strikeouts to keep the Miners bats at bay. It was after he departed the game, though, that Southern Illinois would pounce.
In the seventh against reliever Austin Jones (0-1), Anthony Brocato singled and Jones walked both Cletis Avery and Kyle Davis to set up a bases-loaded, nobody-out situation for pinch-hitter Arturo Nieto. The backstop gave the Miners the lead for good by slapping a two-run, go-ahead double down the first base line, scoring Brocato and Avery to make it 2-1 Miners. Joe Duncan's sacrifice fly then extended the lead out to 3-1.
Windy City got one run back in the top of the eighth on a bases-loaded fielder's choice by Shane Carrier to make it a one-run game at 3-2, but the Miners' onslaught against the ThunderBolts' bullpen continued in the bottom of the frame. Three straight singles loaded the bases again with no one out, and Avery reached on an infield hit that brought home Chris Iriart and made it 4-2. After Blake Hickman struck out two batters in a row, he threw a wild pitch with Duncan batting to bring in an additional run for a 5-2 Miners lead.
Jordan Brink then came on for the top of the ninth, and struck out two batters in a scoreless frame for his first save of the season as the Miners broke above the .500 mark for the first time this year at 5-4 and pulled into a four-way tie for second place in the West Division standings. Andy Cosgrove tied a career-high with three hits for the Miners offensively, while Brocato extended his hitting streak out to seven games with a 2-for-4 performance. Southern Illinois had 11 hits as a team in the game, giving them 30 in the series overall.
Now winners of three in a row and four of their last five, the Miners head to O'Fallon, Missouri to begin a six-game road trip against the River City Rascals on Tuesday, May 21. First pitch at CarShield Field is scheduled for 6:35 p.m., with Chase Cunningham pitching for Southern Illinois in the series opener.
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.
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