(Courtesy Southern Illinois Miners; Photo Credit: Jonathan LeBlond)
The Southern Illinois Miners won their ninth game in a row at home, scoring the go-ahead run in the bottom of the eighth to beat the Frontier Greys 4-3 and clinch the series victory in Marion on Wednesday night.
Phil Butler led off the inning with a single and was sacrificed to second by Ryan Cavan. A wild pitch moved Butler to third, and with two outs, Jon Eisen looped a single into left that just eluded the gloves of both the shortstop and the left fielder to bring home the eventual winning run. Derrick Miramontes then came in for the ninth, and after allowing a leadoff single to the first batter of the inning, the closer got the next three men out, freezing Joe Rapp on a slider to end the ballgame and earn his seventh save of the season.
The Miners led 3-0 with single runs in the second, third and sixth before the Greys struck back with three runs in the top of the seventh inning on a hit-by-pitch, a walk and a single with the bases loaded. The Greys had the go-ahead run at third with only one out, but Stew Brase came in from the bullpen and induced a fielder’s-choice groundout to first base. He then struck out the next batter to escape the jam.
Tyler Lavigne pitched the first 6 1/3 innings, allowing just two runs while tying his season-high with six strikeouts, but did not factor into the decision. He retired nine Greys in a row at one point before back-to-back singles chased him in the seventh. Britt Robertshaw (1-0) got the win in relief for Southern Illinois.
Butler went 3-for-3 at the plate on the day, with two doubles and two runs scored, including the winning run. Tyler Booth also had a strong game with two hits, including a double, plus one run scored, while Eisen drove in two runs on the night, including the tally that gave the Miners the win.
The Miners will go for the sweep at 7:05 p.m. on Thursday night. Michael Carden will pitch for the Miners opposite Brandon Rohde for the Greys.
The Southern Illinois Miners are the 2012 Frontier League Champions and have been awarded the Frontier League Organization of the Year award three times since their inception. They also set a new Frontier League attendance record in 2007, their inaugural season. For ticket information, please contact the Rent One Park box office at 618-998-8499. For any additional information, visit our website at www.southernillinoisminers.com