The Southern Illinois Miners took the second game of their series against the River City Rascals at Rent One Park on Saturday night by a final score of 4-1, clinching the series by winning the first two games and tying the 2015 Miners’ mark of 63 wins for the second-most in a season in franchise history.
River City’s Zeb Sneed (8-8) and the Miners’ Brooks Trujillo engaged in a pitcher’s duel for the first four-plus innings, with neither allowing a single run and just a handful of baserunners each. Trujillo (4-4) retired eleven batters in a row at one point, and ended up with five and two-thirds innings of three-hit, shutout baseball on the night, walking none and striking out a career-high five.
The Miners’ offense broke through in the fifth with two outs, as Brandon Cummins tripled to left-center field and was followed by Toby DeMello, who stroked an RBI double to the same gap to make the score 1-0. Kurt Wertz, Jr. would continue the rally with an RBI single of his own to right, scoring DeMello and doubling the lead.
In the next inning, Shane Kennedy reached on an error by Jason Merjano and ended up scoring on a two-out RBI double by Nolan Earley for a 3-0 Miners lead in the sixth, and in the seventh, Kennedy would drive in a run of his own with a perfectly-placed, two-out infield single with runners at second and third, making the score 4-0.
Trujillo and three relievers combined to hold the Rascals scoreless until the top of the ninth, when on two singles and a walk they loaded the bases against Rich Mascheri and Adam Lopez. With two strikes and two outs on Clint Freeman after Lopez froze Mike Jurgella on a fastball for the second out of the inning, a wild pitch by the closer brought home a run to make it 4-1, but Kennedy ended the game by making a tremendous diving stop deep in the hole at second, firing to first in time to end the game.
The bottom third of the Miners’ order (Cummins, DeMello and Wertz, Jr.) combined to go 5-for-7 with three runs scored and two RBIs to pace the Miners offensively, as they secured a series victory. The Miners will now go for a sweep of the Rascals on Sunday night at 5:05 p.m. A starter to be determined will face former Miners left-hander Dan Ludwig in the regular season finale.