The Southern Illinois Miners saw their playoff hopes dashed on Friday night at Rent One Park in a 4-1 loss to the Evansville Otters, officially eliminating the club from postseason contention in 2019.
The visitors took the lead in the first inning on an RBI double by Ryan Long at 1-0, and Frontier League Pitcher of the Year Chase Cunningham limited the Otters to the lone tally for the first five innings. In the top of the sixth, the Otters scored on a two-out, RBI double by Elijah MacNamee to make it 2-0. The Miners then responded with their only run of the game in the bottom half on a sacrifice fly by Yeltsin Gudino to cut the deficit back to a single run at 2-1, but Rob Calabrese led off the very next inning with a solo home run, making the score 3-1.
That was all Cunningham (10-5) permitted in six and two-thirds innings for the "quality start," striking out four to take over the Frontier League lead in that category, but the Miners' offense was unable to solve Tyler Beardsley (9-4) on the other side. The Evansville starter struck out five and allowed just three hits in seven and two-thirds innings for the victory.
Even so, the Miners did attempt a rally in the ninth against Drew Beyer. With the score 4-1 after a sacrifice fly by Keith Grieshaber in the top of the frame, Gianfranco Wawoe and Arturo Nieto singled, and Jamey Smart walked with two outs to load the bases and put the tying run on first. But a groundout to third base by Joe Duncan ended the game.
Nieto enjoyed his first three-hit game of the season, going 3-for-4 in the contest, but the Miners managed only two other hits in the game as they were eliminated from playoff contention with the home defeat. They will look to bounce back in their penultimate game of the season on Saturday, August 31, at 6:05 p.m., with Frank Moscatiello drawing the starting assignment on the mound.
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.