Miners Erupt Late to Take Series at Windy City
Marion, IL - The Southern Illinois Miners scored one run in the eighth inning to break up a scoreless pitcher's duel on Thursday night, and added three more runs in the ninth to shut out the Windy City ThunderBolts 4-0 at Ozinga Field in Crestwood in the rubber game of their three-game series.
The two teams traded zeroes for seven innings as both pitching staffs controlled the game. Kaleb Schmidt, making his second professional start, was perfect into the fifth inning for the Miners, retiring the first 13 batters he faced. Windy City starter Layne Schnitz-Paxton, making his professional debut, matched Schmidt pitch for pitch until he had to depart in the top of the fifth inning with a blister on his throwing hand.
Schmidt (1-0) kept up the dominance through the middle innings, allowing a one-out single in the fifth to Zach Racusin and a two-out double to Jose Layer in the sixth, but no runs or walks as he ended up tossing seven scoreless innings with three strikeouts to keep the ThunderBolts at bay. The effort would be good enough for his first professional win as well when the Miners were finally able to break through in the top of the eighth against Windy City reliever Stetson Woods (0-1).
In the inning, Jared Mang led off with a single and Ryan Stacy sacrificed him to second base. Anthony Brocato moved him to third base with a ground ball, and with two outs, Marshall Rich came up clutch with an RBI single to center field to make it 1-0 Southern Illinois.
A leadoff double by Racusin in the bottom of the eighth put the tying run in scoring position, and a passed ball moved him to third base with just one out. But Mitchell Walters struck out Jake Hirabayashi for the second out, and after a two-out walk put the potential lead run on base, Joey Pulido struck out Layer to keep the Miners in front 1-0.
Southern Illinois then tacked on three more runs in the ninth. After two walks and a bunt single by Nick Neville loaded the bases, with one out, Stacy lifted a sacrifice fly to left field to score Luke Mangieri and make it 2-0. Brocato then followed with a two-run single into center field that accounted for the final score. Ryan Miller polished off the win with two strikeouts in a scoreless bottom of the ninth, securing the Miners' first series victory of 2021 as well as their first shutout win of the season.
The Miners will look to keep the momentum going when they return home on Friday, June 11, to begin a weekend series at Rent One Park against the Florence Y'Alls. Chase Cunningham will toe the rubber for the Miners at 7:05 p.m. in Marion.
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 59 players to MLB organizations in their 13 years of operation. 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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