The Southern Illinois Miners got a dominant, seven-inning start from Ryan McAuliffe on the mound at Rent One Park on Tuesday, and gave him plenty of early run support in beating the Florence Freedom 6-3 for their 11th win in their last 12 games overall.
Neither team scored until the bottom of the third inning, when Joe Duncan's one-out walk off Florence starter George Faue (2-2) kicked off what would become a four-run rally. That walk was followed by three straight singles, with Omar Obregon bringing in Duncan for a 1-0 lead, then Yeltsin Gudino extending his hit streak to nine in a row by scoring Kirvin Moesquit for a 2-0 lead. Later in the inning, with two outs, Jamey Smart flared an RBI single to left to score Obregon, and Kyle Davis pushed his hit streak out to 12 in a row with a double down the left field line, making the score 4-0 Southern Illinois.
After McAuliffe (5-3) pitched a scoreless top of the fourth, the Miners would extend their lead in the bottom half. Taylor Sparks launched his sixth homer of the season far over the left field fence to make it 5-0, and with two outs and Moesquit at second base later in the frame, Gudino came up with another RBI single to increase the advantage to 6-0.
That was all McAuliffe needed, as he allowed just two hits in the game over seven brilliant innings, walking one and striking out five while retiring the final ten batters he faced overall to win his fourth consecutive start. Florence got three runs back against the bullpen in the eighth inning, but Gabe Gentner shut the door with a flawless ninth inning to notch his ninth save and pull the Miners to within one-half game of a playoff spot and two games back of first place in the Frontier League's West Division.
Gudino, Davis and Moesquit all enjoyed two-hit nights offensively, while Sparks, Smart and Obregon each finished with one hit and one RBI in a game where seven of the nine Miners batters had at least one base knock. The Miners will look to keep up their winning ways in the middle game of the series on Wednesday, August 14, at 6:35 p.m. Chase Cunningham will pitch for the Miners against Florence right-hander Zak Spivy at Rent One Park.
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.