Marion, IL – The Southern Illinois Miners emerged victorious on Sunday evening at Bosse Field in Evansville, scoring two runs in the 11th and beating the Evansville Otters in comeback fashion 3-2, winning their ninth straight series overall as well as their 13th straight road series win to take over sole possession of first place in both the East Division and overall league standings.
The game featured a matchup of the aces of the two teams tied for first atop the standings. Both Matt Bywater and Trevor Walch pitched well, with Walch allowing one run on three hits in seven innings and Bywater pitching eight innings and giving up one run on four hits with no walks and seven strikeouts. Evansville scored a run in the third inning when with two outs, Bywater struck out John Schultz but a wild pitch on strike three got away on the third base side, with Alex Cruz scoring from third to make it 1-0 Otters.
The Miners were held out of the hit column until the fifth inning by Walch, but they broke through in the seventh inning when Michael Earley walked and went to third on Jerrud Sabourin’s double. Steve Marino then brought Earley home with an RBI groundout to knot the score at one apiece.
Both teams had chances to score in the late innings, but neither could capitalize until the international tiebreaker rules took effect in the top of the 11th. With Frank Martinez the automatic runner on second base to start the frame, Niko Vasquez moved him to third with a bunt. Earley then came through after taking a close pitch on a two-strike count to line a base hit over the drawn-in infield to break the tie and give the Miners a 2-1 lead. After Sabourin’s groundout moved Earley to second, Marino lined a single to center field to score Earley and make it 3-1 Miners.
That would prove to be the winning run, as Evansville got a one-out RBI single by Josh Allen to score the automatic runner Cruz in the bottom of the 11th to make it 3-2. Allen stole second base, putting the tying run in scoring position, but Eric Green slammed the door for his eighth save of the season by coming back from down in the count to strike out Schultz before a grounder to shortstop ended the ballgame and put the Miners in first place.
The Miners return home on Tuesday night at 7:05 p.m. to welcome the Lake Erie Crushers to Rent One Park. Adam Lopez will pitch for Southern Illinois in the contest to kick off a six-game homestand.
The Southern Illinois Miners are the 2014 Frontier League East Division Champions and the 2012 Frontier League Champions. 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 2007, their inaugural season. For ticket information, contact the Rent One Park box office at 618-998-8499. For any additional information, visit our website at www.southernillinoisminers.com.