MARION -- The Southern Illinois Miners handed the Evansville Otters an early lead on Wednesday night in Marion, and could not dig out of the hole in a 5-2 loss at Rent One Park, dropping the series by losing the first two games.
In the first inning, a two-out RBI double by Elijah MacNamee put the Otters up 1-0, and then the visitors scored a trio of two-out runs in the second inning to vault in front 4-0. That was all Andrew Bernstein (2-2) allowed in the contest, battling through baserunners to finish a career-high six innings and strike out a career-best five while allowing only three earned runs for the "quality start."
But the Miners' bats could not rev into gear despite making Evansville starter Jake Welch (7-5) work for his outs. In the fourth inning, a leadoff single by Jamey Smart came around to score when, later in the frame, Joe Duncan drew a bases-loaded walk off Welch to cut the deficit to 4-1 and put the tying runs on base. But they could get no closer in that instance.
In the top of the seventh, with the bases loaded, a two-out, two-strike passed ball allowed Taylor Lane to score and make it 5-1. Southern Illinois got that run back in the bottom half when Yeltsin Gudino struck a two-out RBI single to left field to make it 5-2, extending his personal hit streak to 16 games in a row. But in that frame the Miners stranded the bases loaded, with the tying runs left on base for the second time, and would not get another chance to score in suffering their fifth loss in the last six games.
Tuesday's Game: Miners surrender ninth-inning lead to Otters
MARION -- The Southern Illinois Miners could not hold a late advantage for the second game in a row, as the Evansville Otters used four walks to score three times in the ninth inning for a 6-4 result at Rent One Park.
The Miners got on the board right away in the first inning, as following a two-out error by David Cronin, Kyle Davis singled before Taylor Sparks came up with an RBI double to make it 1-0, extending his hit streak to 13 in a row. That lead lasted until the fourth inning, when a walk and two straight singles culminated with Dakota Phillips' RBI hit to make it a 1-1 game.
The Otters then took a 2-1 lead on a solo home run by Ryan Long leading off the sixth, but that was all Chase Cunningham allowed in seven strong innings, striking out five in the contest and leaving in line for the win when the Miners rallied back. In the bottom of the sixth, Yeltsin Gudino singled and Jamey Smart was hit by a pitch to set up Davis, who drilled a go-ahead, two-run double to left-center field to make it 3-2 Southern Illinois. In the seventh inning, it was Andy Cosgrove leading off with a double to left field and later scoring on a sacrifice fly by Jarrod Watkins, putting the Miners ahead 4-2.
But the late innings belonged to the opposition. A leadoff walk in the eighth ended up scoring on Taylor Lane's floating double to right field to make it 4-3. Heath Renz (1-1) came in and struck out J.J. Gould to strand the bases loaded in the frame and keep Southern Illinois in front, but four consecutive walks leading off the ninth forced in the tying run, and Phillips sacrifice fly made it a 5-4 Otters lead. A subsequent two-out, RBI single by Lane completed the scoring, as the Miners suffered their fourth loss in their last five games, dropping to two games back of the final wild card playoff spot in the Frontier League standings.