MARION — The Southern Illinois Miners took an early lead on the River City Rascals in the rubber game of their three-game series on Thursday night, saw that lead slip away, then came back from down three runs in the sixth to eventually win it in walk-off fashion on Kyle Davis’ single in the eleventh inning by a final score of 6-5 at Rent One Park.
Southern Illinois struck first in the second inning against Rascals starter Alec Byrd when they loaded the bases for Chris Iriart, who drew a walk to force in the game’s first run. That lead was doubled to 2-0 after Brett Siddall followed with a sacrifice fly, but River City got a run back in the next frame against Marty Anderson on an RBI groundout by Kameron Esthay, making the score 2-1.
The Rascals would go ahead for the first time in the fifth inning, when Cody Livesay’s infield leadoff single was followed by a go-ahead, two-run home run by Andrew Penner that made it 3-2. A bases-loaded walk later in the inning by J.D. Hearn off Andrew Bernstein made the score 4-2, and another run came across on Braxton Martinez’ RBI double in the sixth to put the deficit at 5-2.
That is when Southern Illinois began their comeback. Stephen Lohr led off with a double and after a single by Andy Cosgrove and a walk by Davis loaded the bases, Iriart hit into a double play against reliever Kyle Fimbrez to make the score 5-3. Fimbrez then threw a wild pitch to score Cosgrove and make it a one-run game at 5-4. It would not stay that way for long, however, as the next inning, Bryant Flete walked to lead off, extending an on-base streak to eight in a row, and three batters later, Lohr came up clutch with an RBI single to tie the game at 5-5.
Neither team scored in the late innings of regulation despite both Southern Illinois and River City getting the potential lead run in scoring position, and the game went to extra innings and the International Tiebreaker in the eleventh. Nick Duron (2-0) worked around the automatic runner at second base for a scoreless top of the frame, and in the bottom half, after Cletis Avery advanced Flete to third base with a sacrifice bunt, Jackson Sigman (1-1) hit Gianfranco Wawoe and chose to intentionally walk Lohr to load the bases. Cosgrove popped out for the second out of the inning, but Davis came up and stroked the game-winning hit into left field, clinching the series for the Miners.
Lohr led the way by going 3-for-4 with two doubles, two runs scored and an RBI, while Flete and Cosgrove also scored two runs apiece in the comeback victory, which put the Miners’ record above the .500 mark at 9-8. They will next continue their home-stand tonight, at 7:05 p.m. hosting the Schaumburg Boomers in the first game of a weekend series.