The Southern Illinois Miners and Schaumburg Boomers engaged in a low-scoring, close game on Wednesday night at Rent One Park, but despite taking a 1-0 lead in the sixth to back a gem from Geno Encina, the Boomers scored the last 11 runs of the contest, nine of which came in the ninth inning, and pulled away for a lopsided 11-1 result in the middle game of the series.
Encina and Kit Fowler kept the opposition off the board for the first five innings, and the Miners were able to scratch across the game's first run in the bottom of the sixth. With two outs, Ben Moore and Joe Dudek hit back-to-back singles to put runners at the corners. Harrison Bragg then hit a slow-rolling infield single that Boomers third baseman Kenny Towns couldn't get to for a 1-0 lead, chasing Fowler from the game.
But the Miners gave two back in the top of the seventh inning. Collin Ferguson doubled just out of the reach of a diving Nolan Earley, and went to third on a sacrifice bunt. With the infield drawn in, pinch-hitter Clint Hardy broke his bat and hit a grounder up the middle to Kyle Davis at second base. After looking the runner back, he threw high to first, allowing the tying run to score to make it 1-1, with Hardy going to second on the play. After a walk (with a stolen base on ball four moving Hardy to third), Jack Parenty bunted up the first base line to make the score 2-1.
It remained 2-1 into the ninth inning, and the Boomers batted around in the frame, scoring nine runs on seven hits against reliever James Carter, with two more Miners errors leading to five of the tallies becoming unearned as Schaumburg pulled away for the series win.
Encina allowed just one unearned run in six and one-third innings of work, allowing only five hits and two walks with four strikeouts, but Southern Illinois committed a season-high four errors in the game defensively, leading to seven unearned runs in suffering the defeat at home.
The Miners will try and avoid a sweep on their home turf on Thursday night at 5:05 p.m., with ex-Boomer Steven Ridings taking the mound against his former club for Southern Illinois against right-hander Joe Hauser for Schaumburg.
The Southern Illinois Miners are the Frontier League's winningest 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. For ticket information, contact the box office at (618) 998-8499. For additional information, visit our website at www.siminers.com.