Marion, IL (July 29, 2018) – The Southern Illinois Miners scored two runs in the second inning and added three more in the third to back a strong pitching performance by Steven Ridings in a 5-1 victory over the Florence Freedom on Sunday night, securing a split of the four-game series at Rent One Park and also a 7-5 season series victory in the last regular season game between the clubs in 2018.
After neither side scored in the first inning, a leadoff error on Austin Wobrock allowed Luke Bonfield to reach base, and Kurt Wertz, Jr. followed with a double to put runners at second and third base. After a strikeout by Florence starter Cody Gray (4-3), Max Dutto reached on an RBI infield hit that scored Bonfield and made it 1-0. Joe Duncan then hit a sacrifice fly to right field to double the lead to 2-0.
Keivan Berges led off the top of the third inning with a solo home run off of Ridings (7-4) to slice the lead in half and make it 2-1, but Southern Illinois responded in the bottom half and took control of the contest. Joe Dudek led off with a single, and after two flyouts, Jake Willsey doubled to move Dudek to third base and Dutto was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Duncan then hit a grounder up the middle that turned into an infield single and brought Dudek home to make it 3-1, and Kyle Davis followed with a liner towards Wobrock at shortstop that kicked off his glove and into the outfield- a two-run single that pushed the Miners’ advantage to 5-1.
That was all Ridings needed, as the right-hander pitched five and two-thirds innings, scattering seven hits and two walks with two strikeouts to earn the victory, permitting just one run. Kody Rock and James Carter also combined for perfect relief as the Freedom did not record a baserunner after Ridings departed the contest.
Duncan and Davis finished with two RBIs apiece at the top of the batting order, with Duncan, Wertz and Chance Shepard recording multi-hit games in the contest as Southern Illinois kept pace in the West Division standings and improved to 5-2 on the homestand.
After two days off, the Miners return to action when they host the Traverse City Beach Bums in a doubleheader beginning at 5:30 p.m. Geno Encina will pitch in the first game for Southern Illinois opposite Beach Bums left-hander John Havird, with Kurt Heyer drawing the assignment for game two against Traverse City’s Reinaldo Lopez at Rent One Park.
The Southern Illinois Miners are the Frontier League’s winningest 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. For ticket information, contact the box office at (618) 998-8499. For additional information, visit our website at www.siminers.com.