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Slammers drop series opener to Southern Illinois

Slammers first baseman Adam Giacalone waits on the ball on a pick-off move by pitcher Alex Kaminsky as the Southern Illinois Miners' Jon Eisen dives back to first base Saturday at Silver Cross Field.
Slammers first baseman Adam Giacalone waits on the ball on a pick-off move by pitcher Alex Kaminsky as the Southern Illinois Miners' Jon Eisen dives back to first base Saturday at Silver Cross Field.

JOLIET– When Southern Illinois played here in May, the Joliet Slammers swept the Miners with three come-from-behind wins to open the season with a 3-0 mark.

Aware of the Slammers’ penchant for coming back against them, the Miners put Joliet into a deep hole early only to see the Slammers fight their way back into it.

However, Southern Illinois held off the Slammers, 13-7, on Saturday at Silver Cross Field before 2,014 in attendance.

Southern Illinois improved to 45-28 as it fights for first place in the Frontier League East Division, while the Slammers fell to 28-45, which puts them in sixth place in the West Division.

The Miners led, 10-1, through four innings, scoring one in the first, one in the second, two in the third and six in the fourth off Joliet starter Alex Kaminsky (0-2) and reliever Tyler Thicke.

Joliet scored two in the fourth, one in the fifth and three in the sixth to pull to within 11-7 before Southern Illinois added two runs in the eighth inning.

The Slammers trailed, 4-1, in the fourth when the Miners marched 10 men to the plate. Kaminsky gave up a one-out walk to Jon Eisen before Ryan Cavan singled him to third. Nikko Vasquez singled home Eisen. Frank Martinez then hit a towering three-run home run, his seventh, over the right-field fence.

After Aaron Gates flied out, Chris Burke drew a walk. Jay Austin doubled and then Steve Marino singled to center to score Burke and Austin.

Joliet scored a run in the bottom of third when Max Casper and JD Dorgan singled to start the inning. Chris Epps’ sacrifice fly to right scored Casper.

The Slammers added two runs in the bottom of the fourth inning. Grant DeBruin and Russell Moldenhauer hit back-to-back singles before Adam Giacalone’s one-out single scored DeBruin. A wild pitch by Miners’ starter Michael Carden (4-3) scored Moldenhauer to make it 10-3.

The game was delayed in the bottom of the fifth inning when Spikes, one of the Slammers’ mascots, fell off the roof of the first-base dugout into the dugout.

Joliet Fire Department transported the person who plays Spikes to the hospital for precautionary reasons, according to Mark Vasko, the Slammers’ director of media relations. The team did not identify the person in the costume because of privacy concerns.

Joliet added a run in the fifth when the first two batters, Epps and Adrian English, drew walks. Moldenhauer’s groundout to second scored Epps to make it 10-4.

After the Miners’ Gates hit a one-out home run to right field to make it 11-4, Joliet took advantage of Southern Illinois miscues to score more runs in the bottom of the sixth.

Casper reached on a throwing error by Cavan and Dorgan followed with an infield single. Epps walked to load the bases. English followed with a grounder to third baseman Marino. He threw to second to start the 5-4-3 double play, but Vasquez could not handle the throw.

Vasquez’s error allowed Casper and Dorgan to score. Southern Illinois manager Mike Pinto lifted Carden for right-hander Britt Robertshaw. DeBruin’s fielder’s choice scored Epps to make it 11-7. Southern Illinois’ Austin drove in two runs with a single in the top of the eighth to make it 13-7.

DeBruin, who entered the game hitting .353, had two hits. Dorgan had three hits for the Slammers, who host Southern Illinois at 1:05 p.m. today. 

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