Southern Illinois grabs early lead with homers, holds it to even weekend series

Joliet, IL (August 17, 2019) – The Southern Illinois Miners grabbed the lead early on Saturday night against the Joliet Slammers, and held it the rest of the way thanks to effective pitching in a series-evening 5-2 victory at DuPage Medical Group Field.

In the top of the first inning, with two on and two out, Taylor Sparks kicked off the game in grand style, smacking his seventh home run of the season out to left field to put the Miners ahead 3-0. In the third inning, Jamey Smart added to the lead with a solo home run, his fifth of the season, to make the score 4-0 against Joliet starter Kit Fowler (0-1).

Southern Illinois starter Frank Moscatiello made the lead stand up, working scoreless frames in the first three innings. Joliet then scored a run on a groundout in the bottom of the fourth by Jacob Crum, and got within 4-2 on a solo homer in the sixth by Riley Krane, but that was all Moscatiello (1-0) allowed, while walking three and striking out six to eventually earn his first Miners victory.

Southern Illinois was able to score an insurance run in the top of the seventh, as with two outs and runners at first and second base, Sparks reached on an infield hit to third, with third baseman Milton Ramos’ throw to first base getting away from Dash Winningham, allowing Yeltsin Gudino  to score on the play to make it 5-2.

The Southern Illinois bullpen took care of the rest- Jake Waters struck out one in two perfect innings in his Miners debut, and Will Headean threw a scoreless eighth inning, setting up Gabe Gentner, who worked a perfect ninth inning for his 11th save, striking out Chaz Meadows to end the game and even the series.

The Miners will look to win the series in the rubber game on Sunday, August 18, at 1:05 p.m., sending Ryan McAuliffe to the mound against Joliet right-hander Daren Osby.

The Southern Illinois Miners are the Frontier League’s most-successful 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.southernillinoisminers.com.

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