Grizzlies remain game out of playoffs

News-DemocratSeptember 3, 2013 

— Like sands in the hourglass, the playoff chances for the Gateway Grizzlies are slipping away.

Southern Illinois starting pitcher Blake Nation tossed a complete game shutout to help the Miners get past the Gateway Grizzlies 1-0 Tuesday night at Rent One Park.

The Grizzlies (51-43) are one game back of the Florence Freedom for the wild card spot in the Frontier League with two games to play. Gateway doesn't have the tie-breaker with the Florence Freedom.

Therefore, the Grizzlies will need to win their final two games and Florence will have to lose their final two games for the Grizzlies to make the postseason.

Manager Phil Warren said the team can't be scoreboard watching to check on the Freedom.

"We just need to worry about ourselves and take care of business the next two nights," Warren said. "We can only control us and we need to win these next two games."

Nation (11-2) scattered eight Grizzlies hits and struck out six batters while delivering the Grizzlies their first shutout loss in the second half of the season. The towering 6-foot-8 right-hander from Atlanta, Ga., retired the final seven batters he faced.

"He threw strikes, worked quick and kept us off balance all night," Warren said. "Usually his issue is throwing strikes, but tonight he did that."

The Grizzlies best chance came in the sixth inning when they left the bases loaded. Gateway stranded six runners on the night.

Grizzlies starting pitcher Jake Stephens (5-3) took the loss. Stephens allowed four hits and one run in five innings. The right-hander from Marietta, Ga., only threw 70 pitches.

Stephens allowed an RBI double to Cannon Lester in the fifth inning, which proved to be the game-winner.

Michael Wing and Landon Hernandez both had two-hit games for the Grizzlies.

The Grizzlies and Miners continue their series Wednesday night. Right-hander Ja'Vaun West (8-3) makes the start for the Grizzlies. The first pitch is set for 7:05 p.m.

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