The Southern Illinois Miners scored two runs right away in the firstto take an early lead over the Joliet Slammers and then hung late, turning the visitors’ comeback attempt in the eighth and ninth aside to win 3-2 on Friday night at Rent One Park.
In the first off Joliet starter Andrew Strenge (1-1), the Miners got three consecutive singles to lead off the inning from Aaron Gates, Frank Martinez and Michael Earley, the latter of the three driving in a run. With Martinez on third and no one out, a double-play groundout brought the veteran home for a 2-0 Miners lead.
Rick Teasley (2-1) would make that stand up in his finest start of the season. The left-hander, who no-hit the Slammers last season in Marion, gave up just four hits and one run over seven innings, walking just one with a season-high seven strikeouts. The lone run he gave up came on Mike Garza’s solo home run with two outs in the sixth, ending the Miners’ franchise-record scoreless streak at 31 2/3 innings.
Southern Illinois would get an insurance run in the seventh that would prove to be the winning run on a sacrifice fly by Jon Minucci. Joliet threatened in the eighth against the Miners bullpen, but did not score. In the ninth inning, however, they got three consecutive hits with two outs to score a run to make it 3-2 off of closer Will Rankin, who saw his own personal scoreless streak end at 31 1/3 innings. The right-hander, however, bore down and got Phil Bates to line out to first to end the game.
Martinez and Earley both had two hits for the Miners, who won their seventh game in a row over the Slammers at home and their fourth straight overall with the victory. They will go for the series win on Saturday night at 6:05 p.m., starting Ryan Brockett against former Miner David Kubiak.
The Southern Illinois Miners are the 2014 Frontier League East Division Champions and the 2012 Frontier League Champions. 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 2007, their inaugural season. For ticket information, contact the Rent One Park box office at 618-998-8499. For any additional information, visit our website at www.southernillinoisminers.com.