The Southern Illinois Miners won their fourth game in a row in dramatic fashion on Friday night at Rent One Park, scoring four runs in the bottom of the ninth inning and walking off the River City Rascals 5-4 on Arturo Nieto's bases-clearing double.
River City grabbed the early lead when Braxton Martinez hit a solo home run off Nick Stroud in the second inning. The Rascals doubled the lead to 2-0 when Trevor Achenbach walked with two outs, went to third on a wild pitch, and scored on a single by Martinez in the third inning.
A leadoff error in the fourth ended up leading to two unearned runs against Stroud when Andrew Bernstein walked two batters with the bases loaded, putting the visitors up 4-0.
Meanwhile, the Miners could not solve rookie right-hander Michael McCraith, who was making his professional debut, as they were shut out on five hits through the first six innings.
The comeback began when Chris Iriart slammed his second home run of the year, a solo shot leading off the seventh inning to the deficit to 4-1. The Miners were unable to record another baserunner against the Rascals' bullpen until the ninth inning.
Against the Rascals' Yeison Medina (1-2), Gianfranco Wawoe led off with a single and Stephen Lohr walked to bring the tying run to the plate with no one out. Iriart struck out for the first out of the inning, but the rally continued when Kyle Davis singled to load the bases.
Andy Cosgrove was called upon to pinch-hit, and also singled to bring in Wawoe and make it 4-2. Nieto came up with the bases still loaded and the winning run at first base. On an 0-2 pitch from Medina, the Miners' catcher socked a walk-off double to right-center field that cleared the bases and gave Southern Illinois the improbable comeback victory.
With their third walk-off win of the season, the Miners improved to 18-12 overall and 11-2 at Rent One Park in 2019, and also elevated themselves to just one game back of first-place Florence in the West Division standings.