Baseball: Southern Illinois Miners nick Slammers 6-5
By Tim Tierney For Sun-Times Media August 16, 2013 11:10PM
Updated: September 19, 2013 10:00AM
The Southern Illinois Miners came to Silver Cross Field on Friday night looking to stay in the race for the Frontier League playoffs.
The Joliet Slammers’ top hitter has other ideas.
“We’re trying to knock some people that are in the playoffs out and get our record closer to .500,’’ Marquis Riley said. “We want a few series wins … and break some teams’ confidence going into their playoff run.’’
The Slammers lost 13 of their previous 18 games before Friday, so it’s no wonder they want to ruin postseason hopes for opponents.
Southern Illinois, four games out of a playoff spot in the East Division entering Friday’s game, opened the series with a 6-5 victory in front of 4,517 fans at Silver Cross Field, the largest crowd of the season.
The figure topped the 3,955 from the Slammers’ 7-4 victory June 28 over Schaumburg.
Joliet loaded the bases in the ninth with one out on a single by Nick Akins, a double by Jerod Yakubik and an intentional walk to Niko Vasquez, but Kyle Maunus hit into a game-ending double play.
Southern Illinois scored twice in the fifth to break a 4-all tie. Joliet got a run back in the bottom of the inning on an RBI base hit by Grant DeBruin.
The second inning was a disaster for Slammers starter Chuck Lofgren, who walked the first four batters, three of whom scored.
Carlos Mendez, Southern Illinois’ hottest hitter in its previous 10 games with a .359 average, delivered a two-out, two-run single to give the Miners a 4-3 lead.
Lofgren threw 54 pitches in just 12/3 innings before he was lifted for Matt Dillon.
Providing Southern Illinois (44-35) with extra baserunners was sure to be a problem. The Miners went into Friday’s game hitting .267 as a team, tied for the league lead with Evansville and Schaumburg.
The Slammers (32-47) had given Lofgren a 3-0 cushion in the bottom of the first. Yakubik (3-for-5) and Vasquez (2-for-4) delivered RBI singles and Seth Schwindenhammer’s sacrifice fly brought in Yakubik.
Joliet took two of three from Southern Illinois last month, including Lofgren’s win in a 4-0 shutout July 19 at Silver Cross Field.
The second game of this series is at 6:05 p.m. Saturday and the finale is 2:05 p.m. Sunday at Silver Cross Field.