Miners Win Third Straight in Series Opener at Florence
Marion, Ill. - The Southern Illinois Miners led for the whole game on Friday night against the Florence Freedom, scoring three runs in the first inning to back Chris Washington in a 6-4 triumph on the road at UC Health Stadium, securing the club's third straight win and fourth in their last five games overall.
Before a single out was recorded in the first inning by Florence starter Tony Vocca (6-5), the Miners pounced on him as Craig Massey led off with a double. Romeo Cortina then singled him home for a 1-0 Miners lead, and three pitches later, Nolan Earley smacked a two-run home run into the Florence bullpen in right field to make the score 3-0.
Florence would get a run back in the bottom of the first to make it 3-1, but Washington (2-3) kept Southern Illinois in the lead. He would settle down for two scoreless frames in the second and third innings before the Miners got two more runs in the fourth. Ryan Lashley and Anthony Critelli singled and doubled, respectively, to put runners at second and third base with no one out. Ryan Sluder's sacrifice fly made the score 4-1, and Massey's RBI groundout increased the lead to 5-1. Again, Florence would score a run to answer in the bottom half, but on an RBI double by Garrett Vail to score that run, Keivan Berges tried scoring from first base as well, and was thrown out at the plate by Massey and Sluder to make it 5-2 after four innings.
Florence would get within two runs at 5-3 in the seventh inning on a solo homer by Daniel Fraga, but in the ninth, the Miners added on again as Sluder led off with a double and was sacrificed to third base. After an intentional walk to Massey, Cortina's second RBI single of the game pushed the lead out to 6-3. Yet again, Florence scored a run in their half of the ninth on a two-out bloop double by Jose Brizuela to make the score 6-4, but John Werner shut the door after that for his 15th save of the season as the Miners won the series opener
Washington would pitch five innings, scattering ten hits but permitting just two runs to score with one walk and four strikeouts to get the win on the mound. Offensively, Cortina and Earley drove in two runs apiece, while six different Miners scored one run in the contest. Sluder's double in the ninth inning also extended his hit streak to six games in a row, while Massey's double in the first pushed his streak out to ten games. With his 15th save, Werner also moved into second place on the Miners' all-time career saves list, breaking a tie with Travis Hope (2007).
Southern Illinois will look for a fourth-straight win on Saturday in the second game of the series against the Freedom at 5:05 p.m.
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Frontier League Stories from August 5, 2017
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