SAUGET, Ill. -- The Gateway Grizzlies failed to capitalize on key late opportunities in a 5-4 loss to the Southern Illinois Miners on Tuesday night at GCS Ballpark.
The Miners (25-15) jumped out to an early 4-0 lead and never trailed. The Grizzlies (13-26) cut the deficit to one run in the seventh inning, but couldn't capitalize in the late innings.
Gateway starter Trevor Richards (1-2) worked himself in and out of trouble early, but then allowed an RBI-double to Michael Earley in the third inning.
The Miners sent eight batters to the plate in a three-run fourth inning. With two outs, Richards issued a single to Brian Portelli and a walk to Aaron Gates to load the bases. The next two batters, Earley and Niko Vazquez, kept the two out rally going with back-to-back hits to give Southern Illinois the early 4-0 lead.
The Grizzlies offense had been quiet, but they cut the deficit in half then next half inning. Adam Lopez (5-0) walked Blake Brown to start the inning and Ben Waldrip followed with his sixth homerun on the year to make it 4-2. That would be the only blemish on Lopez's night In six innings of solid work.
Frank Martinez added an insurance run in the seventh inning on a sacrifice fly after Vasquez tripled earlier in the inning to extend the Southern Illinois lead to 5-2. That run turned out to be crucial, as Gateway ended up cutting the deficit to one, but couldn't come through with the big hit.
Gateway plated two runs in the seventh inning to make it 5-4, but left the tying run at second base after a Ben Waldrip strikeout to end the threat. The Grizzlies also couldn't deliver in the eighth inning when they had runners at second and third base with one out.
The Grizzlies and Miners continue their series Wednesday night at GCS Ballpark. RHP Max Schonfeld (2-2, 2.60) will pitch for Gateway and LHP Rick Teasley (4-2, 3.13) will take the mound for the Miners. First pitch is set for 7:05 p.m. The game can be heard on the Grizzlies Radio Network, which airs on the 101 ESPN's digital channels and 1400 AM KJFF. Sam Levitt and Kevin Schaefer will call the action.