SAUGET, Ill. — The Gateway Grizzlies took a 3-2 lead into the ninth inning Friday night but allowed two Southern Illinois Miners runs without a hit and lost 4-3 at GCS Credit Union Ballpark.
Gateway (16-27) fell to 5-10 in one-run games and 8-20 in games decided by three or fewers runs.
With the Grizzlies ahead 3-2 going to the ninth, Dakota Smith (0-1) entered for his first save opportunity of the season and walked Anthony Jimenez to start the inning. Gianfranco Wawoe followed with a slow grounder to third base; Connor Owings tried to force Jimenez out at second base, but his throw was late and both runners were safe. After a wild pitch moved both men into scoring position, Jimenez and Wawoe scored to tie the game and then give the Miners (24-17) the lead on successive sacrifice flies.
Gateway has converted only seven of 11 save opportunities as a team in 2019.
Dustin Woodcock gave the Grizzlies a 1-0 lead on a first-inning sacrifice fly. Brent Sakurai singled in the fifth to drive in Luis Román, who made his Grizzlies debut Friday, and put Gateway ahead 2-0. The lead became 3-1 when Andrew Daniel singled home Matt Brown in the sixth. Brown reached third base on a triple, the Grizzlies' first in 19 home games this season.
Southern Illinois battled back on a seventh-inning solo home run from Jimenez to cut the Grizzlies' lead to 3-2.
Jordan Barrett worked five scoreless innings and struck out six but did not factor in the decision. Geoff Bramblett struck out the side in the eighth inning and allowed only one baserunner. He lowered his season ERA to 0.98.
Gateway had two errors, four wild pitches, and a passed ball Friday. The Grizzlies dropped to 6-13 in Sauget this year; they've lost 12 of their last 14 games overall.
Sakurai and Daniel both added walks to their RBI singles, but no Grizzlie posted multiple hits.
Gateway and Southern Illinois will continue their three-game series Saturday at 7:05 p.m. CDT with Chris Carden on the mound for the Grizzlies.
ABOUT THE GATEWAY GRIZZLIES: The Gateway Grizzlies are a professional baseball team, located a mere 100-yards from I-255 (10 minutes from downtown St. Louis). The Grizzlies offer baseball fans entertainment, the likes of which are difficult to find - affordable, family, fun in the comfortable GCS Credit Union Ballpark with a great view of the St. Louis skyline. For tickets or general information please visit gatewaygrizzlies.com or call 618.337.3000.
ABOUT THE FRONTIER LEAGUE: The Frontier League is a professional, independent baseball organization. Since its inception, the Frontier League has provided millions of fans to a fun and exciting baseball experience within the American Midwest. Consisting of 10 teams in two divisions and 96 game schedules, the league is recognized for the amount of talented athletes that are picked up by various MLB teams every year.