The Southern Illinois Miners dropped the middle game of their series against Joliet Slammers on the road at DuPage Medical Group Field on Saturday night, with three unearned runs standing as the difference in a 4-1 loss.
The Slammers grabbed the early lead in the second inning, as with runners at second and third base and one out, Jackson Dvorak hit a ground ball to Ian Walters at third base, with a high throw to first scoring Patrick Causa and making it 1-0. Jake Fisher then got a double-play ground ball to third base to minimize the damage to the single unearned run, and that would be the only run the Miners' starter would allow in five innings of work. The veteran struck out six batters as well to pass former Gateway Grizzlies right-hander JaVaun West and move into second place all-time in Frontier League history in career strikeouts with 469.
In the sixth inning, with a runner on first base and one out, Carson Maxwell hit another ground ball to third base, and Walters' throw to second base was dropped by Bryant Flete for the team's second error. Three batters later, Lane Baremore hit a two-run double to increase the Slammers' lead to 3-0, with both runs also marked as unearned in the inning.
Offensively, the Miners were unable to get on the board in the game until the seventh inning against Joliet starter Cam Aufderheide (1-8), who held their red-hot offense to just one hit until Jared Mang chased him with an RBI double in the frame, scoring Walters from first base and making it 3-1.
Southern Illinois would also put the tying runs on base in both the seventh and eighth innings against the Slammers' bullpen, but would get no closer. Joliet added an insurance run in the bottom of the eighth for the final margin, as they evened up the weekend series.
The Miners and Slammers will play a rubber game to conclude the set at DuPage Medical Group Field on Sunday, August 15, at 1:00 p.m., with Michael Austin starting on the mound for Southern Illinois against Joliet left-hander Logan Lyle.
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.