The Southern Illinois Miners fell behind early for the second time against the Lake Erie Crushers this week in Marion, and for the second time could not come back from the deficit in a 4-2 loss at Rent One Park, leaving them two games back of a playoff spot with only three games remaining.
The Crushers used a double, wild pitch and RBI single to grab a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning, and with two outs, Dale Burdick's two-run home run increased the lead to 3-0 against Ryan McAuliffe (6-4). In the bottom of the first, Gianfranco Wawoe hit his tenth homer of the year, a solo shot that hit the foul pole in left field, to make it 3-1, and leading off the next inning against Crushers starter Sam Curtis (2-1), Arturo Nieto blasted his third homer of the season over the right-center field wall to draw the Miners within a run at 3-2.
But Jake Vieth led off the fourth with a solo home run of his own, and second of the series, making it 4-2. After that, the Miners threatened by putting the tying runs on base three times against Curtis and the Lake Erie bullpen, but failed to score each time, including in the sixth inning, when they left the tying runs in scoring position with only one out as Curtis struck out the last two batters he faced.
Now two games behind the River City Rascals for the final wild card playoff spot with just three games remaining, Southern Illinois will look to respond with their backs against the wall on Friday, August 30, hosting the Evansville Otters in the first game of their final regular season series. Newly-minted Frontier League Pitcher of the Year Chase Cunningham will be on the mound for Southern Illinois in the contest, beginning at 7:05 p.m. 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.