MARION, Ill. – The Southern Illinois Miners got back in the win column on Sunday night by getting a fantastic team pitching effort, with John Werner becoming the Miners’ all-time leader in single-season and career saves with his 21st of the year in a 3-1 win over the Evansville Otters at Rent One Park.
The Miners opened the game by getting on the board first against Evansville starter Ryan Etsell (1-2), as Ryan Sluder tripled to right field before Nolan Earley followed with an RBI single to make it 1-0 Miners in the bottom of the first inning. After two scoreless frames, Robby Rowland permitted a run to score in the third inning when Nick Walker’s fly ball into right field was dropped on a slide by Earley for an error, getting Walker to third base before an RBI groundout by Chris Riopedre tied the score at 1-1.
The Otters then loaded the bases with only one out, but Rowland (2-2) induced an inning-ending double-play grounder to first base to keep it tied, and Southern Illinois took advantage in the bottom half of the third. Sluder led off with a double, moved to third base on a groundout and scored on another groundout, with Ryan Lashley picking up the RBI to make the score 2-1.
The Miners led the rest of the way, as Rowland pitched six innings and allowed just three singles and the lone unearned run, walking four, but getting 14 of 18 total outs recorded on ground balls to keep the Otters off the scoreboard. Southern Illinois got an insurance run in the seventh inning when Lashley doubled with two outs, scoring pinch-runner Culver Plant from first base for the final margin of 3-1.
Southern Illinois’ bullpen also turned in a dominant effort to keep the lead, with Paul Young and Kyle Grana each striking out the side in order in the seventh and eighth innings. That set up Werner, who struck out Jeff Gardner looking, got Alejandro Segovia to ground out to Plant at shortstop, then struck out John Schultz looking to end the game and pass Derrick Miramontes (2014) to become the Miners’ all-time leader in saves.
Offensively, the Miners out-hit the Otters 10 to three, with Sluder finishing a homer away from the cycle by going 3-for-4 with a pair of runs scored. Lashley drove home two runs in going 1-for-4, while Craig Massey also had a multi-hit game, going 2-for-3 as the Miners snapped a four-game losing streak.
After an off day on Monday, the Miners kick off their final home series of the season on Tuesday at 7:05 p.m. against the Gateway Grizzlies. Chris Washington will pitch for the Miners, while Vincent Molesky will throw for Gateway.
The Southern Illinois Miners are the 2016 Frontier League West Division Champions, the 2014 and 2015 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.