MARION, Ill. - The Miners shutout Rockford, 8-0, Thursday night at Rent One Park to finish a three-game sweep of the RiverHawks. Shawn Joy was nearly untouchable. He allowed two hits in the first inning and none the rest of the night to earn his first career complete game shutout and record his career high sixth victory of the year. The Miners offense unloaded on Rockford pitching for seven runs in the seventh inning. Former Miner Brett Scarpetta took the loss after exiting midway through the seventh inning. With the win, the Miners magic number is 11 games to clinch the West Division wildcard.
After allowing two first inning singles, Joy retired 17 straight batters before issuing a one-out walk to Matt Greener in the seventh inning. He then retired the next eight batters to finish the 88-pitch shutout. Joy’s third consecutive victory improved his 2011 record to 6-3. Joy has allowed a total of one run off nine hits in his last 23 innings of work.
Southern Illinois took a 1-0 lead when a Gordie Gronkowski RBI single scored Will Block in the third inning. Block reached on a two-out double.
Scarpetta then threw three more scoreless innings before the Miners offense exploded for seven runs in the seventh inning. Ernie Banks led off the inning with a solo home run, his fifth of the season and third in 14 games with Southern Illinois. Scarpetta loaded the bases on a single and a pair of walks. Gronkowski cleared the bases with a three-run double to left-center field. It was Gronkowski’s second hit of the night, giving him four RBIs in the game. Matt Fields finished off the furious inning with his 10th homer of the year, a solo shot to left field that gave the Miners an 8-0 lead.
Scarpetta, the Miners all-time leader in starts and innings pitched, allowed just one run off four hits in his first six innings of work. The righty recorded just one out in the seventh and was charged with five runs off six hits. Scarpetta struck out one and walked two as he fell to 6-5 on the season.
The last time the Miners shutout a team in back-to-back games was against Windy City on July 19 and 20, 2008.
Friday the Miners will have all-star righty Ryan Zink (4-5, 5.12) on the mound as Traverse City comes into town to begin a three-game series. It will be a 7:05 p.m. first pitch from Rent One Park on SIU Night. Southern Illinois will wear their Southern Illinois University Saluki maroon tops that will be auctioned off immediately following the game Friday night. The gates open at 4:30 p.m. Friday for 103.5 ESPN’s Ridin’ the Pine with the Foxx.