SAUGET, Ill. – The Southern Illinois Miners secured their seventh victory in their last ten games overall thanks to a pair of home runs by Ryan Lashley and stout work by the bullpen to hold an early lead in a 5-4 triumph over the Gateway Grizzlies at GCS Credit Union Ballpark in Sauget on Tuesday night.
Two batters into the game against Gateway starter and Murphysboro native Dylan Craig (1-5), the Miners had the lead, as after Craig Massey singled leading off the game, Lashley hit a two-run homer down the right field line for a 2-0 advantage. Two Gateway errors in the second inning led to a third Miners run for a 3-0 advantage, and after Gateway came back with two runs on a single by Matt Hearn in the second to make it 3-2, Southern Illinois would add single runs their next two turns at bat.
In the third, with two outs and men at first and second base, Ryan Sluder lined a single into the outfield to score Anthony Critelli to make it 4-2, and Lashley led off the fourth inning with a solo shot, his second homer of the game, over the left field fence to make it 5-2.
Gateway responded with single runs in the fifth and sixth innings against Chris Washington (1-0), drawing within 5-4 on Jack Hranec’s solo home run in the sixth. The Grizzlies then loaded the bases with one out that same inning, but Nick Palacios struck out Hearn and got Brent Sakurai to pop out to preserve the lead.
After working a flawless seventh inning, in the eighth, Kyle Tinius faced a bases-loaded situation as well, walking three in the inning, but got Sakurai to again pop out to end the threat and send the game to the ninth inning. John Werner then secured his seventh save of the season by striking out the side, the last two batters representing a potential winning run with a runner on second base, as the Miners won the series opener.
Lashley finished with three total RBIs and two runs scored on his two home runs, while Washington lasted five and one-third innings, striking out five in the contest to earn his first professional win. Critelli also added two hits in the contest as Southern Illinois won their second straight while sending the Grizzlies to their eighth straight loss.
The Miners will look for a third straight victory and a series win against the Grizzlies on Wednesday night at 7:05 p.m., with Austin Dubsky making the start for Southern Illinois against Gateway’s Will Anderson.
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.