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The Southern Illinois Miners sliced a three-run deficit down to one in the ninth inning, and put the tying run at third base with one out, but came up short in a 7-6 rubber match loss to the Lake Erie Crushers, dropping to 2-4 on the season.

Lake Erie got in front 1-0 on a leadoff solo home run in the first inning by Aaron Hill, but despite threatening for more, could not add on as Chase Adkins settled in. The score remained 1-0 until the fourth inning as the Miners could not solve Crushers’ starter Jared Koenig (1-0), but Lake Erie then plated three more runs off Adkins (0-1) to take a 4-0 lead after four.

In the top of the fifth, the Miners got three runs back. Andy Cosgrove led off with a double and Anthony Brocato reached on an error, with Cosgrove scoring on the play to make it 4-1. Three batters later, Gianfranco Wawoe cranked a two-run home run out to left field, making it a one-run game at 4-3.

But the Crushers scored three runs in the bottom half of the fifth, chasing Adkins from the game on a leadoff walk and then scoring two runs against Patrick Duester (with one being unearned due to an error in the frame), all with only one base hit. That put the home team up 7-3, with Stephen Lohr going deep against reliever Jake Repavich leading off the next half-inning for a 7-4 score.

Neither team was able to score again until the Miners came to bat in the top of the ninth inning against Crushers closer Seth Lucio. Cosgrove, Brocato and pinch-hitter Cletis Avery all drew walks to load the bases and put the tying run at first with no one out. After Lucio recorded a strikeout, with Wawoe batting, a passed ball and a wild pitch brought home two runs and landed Avery at third base with only one out, 90 feet from tying the score.

But with the infield drawn in, Wawoe hit a ground ball to Dale Burdick and then Brett Siddall popped out to end the game.

The Miners play at home for the first time, hosting the Windy City ThunderBolts in a three-game series beginning today at 7:05 p.m. Steven Ridings will pitch for Southern Illinois against the ‘Bolts’ Tyler Thornton at Rent One Park.

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