Miners hold off late rally for win


WPSD Sports

Marion, IL - Despite Rockford scoring four runs in the bottom of the ninth off Miners reliever Jon Mark Abbey, the Miners defeated the Rockford Aviators 9-8 on Sunday at Aviators Stadium.  The Miners are now 34-27 on the season.  Matt Crim earned his first victory as a Miner, allowing four runs through six innings.  John Colella recorded the final out in the bottom of the ninth inning to earn his first professional save. 

The Miners took an early 3-0 lead in the top of the first inning against Aviators starter Drew Rucinski as Gerardo Avila hit a three-run home run to score Jereme Milons and Steven Liddle.  The home run hit by Avila was his sixth of the season.  Rockford tied the game in the bottom of the first off Miners starter Matt Crim.  All of Rockford's runs scored with two outs. 

Rockford took the lead 4-3 in the bottom of the sixth inning off Crim.  Aviators starter Drew Rucinski left after six innings and allowed three runs.  Southern Illinois scored five runs in the top of the seventh inning to take an 8-4 lead.  Carlos Mendez hit a RBI single off Aviators reliever Nick Grim to score Jereme Milons.  Gerardo Avila hit a RBI single off Aviators reliever Nathan O'Bryan to score Steven Liddle.  Mendez scored on an error by O'Bryan and Jason Ganek hit a two RBI double to cap off the inning.  Gerardo Avila and Cory Harrilchak scored on the play. 

The Miners added another run in the top of the eighth inning off Aviators reliever Seafth Howe as Gerardo Avila hit a RBI single to score Milons and give the Miners a 9-4 lead.  Avila finished the night 3-5 with five runs batted in. 

Pete Perez pitched two scoreless innings in relief of Matt Crim.  He recorded four strikeouts in the process. 

The Miners play game two on Monday evening at 7:05 pm from Aviators Stadium.  Mike Ventola will have the call beginning at 6:45 pm with the Heartland Regional Medical Center Pregame Show on the Miners Radio Network and southernillinoisminers.com.  Right-hander Travis Bradshaw (2-0, 2.95 ERA) will be on the mound for the Miners against Aviators left-hander and former Miners Nick Cicio (1-4, 5.33 ERA).

From: Southern Illinois Miners media relations

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