The Southern Illinois Miners scratched across three runs in the bottom of the eighth inning to break open game three of the series in the 2016 Frontier League Divisional Round and defeat the River City Rascals 7-2 Friday night at Rent One Park. The Miners win forces a game four Saturday night in this five game series, which the Rascals lead 2-1.
Going into the eighth, the Rascals were well in striking distance trailing by just two runs but couldn’t keep the Miners in check and it took four arms to get out of that inning.
Nolan Early began the inning with a double off of Jason Zgardowski that chased him from the game and then after Alex De Leon flew out against Rascals veteran Nick Kennedy, acting manager Josh Ludy brought in the third reliever of the inning to face a lefty.
First-year Rascal Skylar Hunter was called upon and the Southern Illinois Miners responded with four consecutive singles that drove in three runs and capped off their game three scoring at seven runs on nine hits.
The 7-2 lead was their largest of the game, one run larger than their 4-0 lead in the early stages of the night against Rascals right-hander Zeb Sneed.
All four runs came via home runs, a solo shot from designated hitter Kurt Wertz Jr. in the second inning and a three run blast from former St. Louis Cardinal minor leaguer Alex De Leon in the following frame.
Besides the two home runs, Sneed allowed just two other hits and he struck out six in six innings while taking the loss.
On the mound for the Miners was left-hander Rick Teasley and he was stellar allowing just one hit through the first four innings, a single to Josh Silver in the opening frame.
Mike Jurgella was the second Rascal to record a hit against him but he would be retired shortly after on a double play ball in the fifth frame.
Teasley had his toughest inning in the sixth and the Rascals took advantage of a stretch of four consecutive productive at-bats to cut the deficit in half at 4-2.
With one out, Alexi Colon and Johnny Morales singled and were driven on a RBI double from Josh Ludy and a sacrifice fly from Josh Silver.
Those would be the only Rascals runs all night and they finished offensively with eight hits and reached three other times via a walk.
Teasley took the win, lasting six 1/3 innings and giving up two runs on seven hits.
Kyle Tinius, Evan Mott and Rich Mascheri finished his outing up with scoreless innings to keep the Miners alive and force a game four Saturday night at Rent One Park.
The Rascals are up 2-1 in the series and need one more win out of the final two games to advance to their third straight Frontier League Championship Series.
First pitch is scheduled for 6:05 p.m. with southpaw Dan Ludwig on the mound.