The Southern Illinois Miners scored nine runs in the first four innings on Friday night in Joliet, and Zac Westcott tossed his second straight nine-inning complete game on the mound as they notched a 12-3, wire-to-wire victory at DuPage Medical Group Field.
It was Nolan Earley who got the hit party started almost immediately, going deep off of Joliet starter Turner Larkins (2-3) for his ninth home run of the season with two outs in the top of the first inning, a solo shot that made it 1-0. In the second inning, with one out, Anthony Brocato singled, and Ian Walters followed with a two-run home run to right field, his second of the season, to extend the lead to 3-0.
Jared Mang then followed Walters' home run with a homer of his own to make it 4-0. Later in the same second inning, with two outs, Bryant Flete doubled and scored one pitch later on an RBI single by Yeltsin Gudiño, making it 5-0 Miners. In the following inning, Mang would pick up an RBI single with two outs for a 6-0 lead.
Then, in the fourth, the Miners would put the game away, as Flete and Gudiño led off with singles before Earley doubled them both home to make it 8-0, followed by an Ariel Sandoval RBI single to increase the Southern Illinois advantage to 9-0.
That would be all that Westcott (9-3) needed, as the right-hander went the distance in his second nine-inning complete game in a row against the Slammers. Joliet would score single runs in the fourth, sixth, and ninth innings, but only managed four total hits for the game, with Westcott also striking out a season-high nine on the hill to earn his Frontier League-leading ninth win of the season, and throwing 90 of his season-high 125 pitches for strikes.
Southern Illinois also tacked on one more run in the eighth inning on two Joliet errors, and two runs in the ninth when Mang went deep for the second time in the contest, hitting a two-run home run to right field to complete the scoring. Six Miners enjoyed multiple hits on the night, with Mang going 3-for-5 with two homers and four RBIs, and Earley also going 3-for-5 while driving in three. Flete, Gudiño, Walters, and Sandoval added two hits apiece as the Miners pounded out 15 hits as an offense to win their seventh game in their last nine overall.
The Miners will now look to make it three wins in a row in the middle game of the series on Saturday, August 13, at 6:05 p.m. at DuPage Medical Group Field.
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. In addition, they have sent 60 players to MLB organizations in their 14 years of operation. For ticket information, contact the box office at (618) 998-8499. For additional information, visit our website at www.southernillinoisminers.com.