The Southern Illinois Miners could not hold an early lead, as their offense struggled in the middle frames while an error opened the door for the Gateway Grizzlies to erase a two-run deficit in the fifth inning en route to a 7-3 loss at Rent One Park.
Gateway took the lead on Andrew Daniel's solo homer in the first inning off Marty Anderson and led 1-0 until the second inning, when Kyle Davis drew a walk and Andy Cosgrove was hit by a pitch before Jarrod Watkins reached on a fielder's choice that, along with an error on Gateway's Matt Brown, brought in the tying run. After Cletis Avery walked to load the bases, Joe Duncan singled to left-center field to make it 3-1 Southern Illinois.
But after a walk re-loaded the bases that same inning, Gateway starter Chris Carden (4-1) induced a ground-ball double play to avoid further damage, and would not allow another base-runner for the rest of his seven-inning start, finishing with four walks against only two strikeouts. In the fifth inning, Anderson (3-1) walked two batters with two outs before Brown popped up a ball to the right side of the infield, which Avery dropped for an error, allowing a run to score to make the score 3-2. After a pitching change, Luis Roman tripled to right-center field to put Gateway up for good at 4-3.
The Grizzlies added on three more runs against Jake Godfrey in the seventh inning for the final margin, including a second solo home run by Daniel, as the Miners dropped the series opener in Marion.
Southern Illinois will seek a bounce-back effort on Saturday, July 6, in the middle game of the series at 6:05 p.m. back at Rent One Park and the penultimate game before the all-star break.
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.