Miners dig out of early hole to defeat Grizzlies

News-DemocratJuly 11, 2014 

— Southern Illinois' Aaron Gates loves coming to GCS Ballpark.

Gates hit a three-run homer to key a four-run, fourth-inning rally as the Miners beat the Gateway Grizzlies 5-3 on Friday night before 2,430 fans at GCS Ballpark.

Two of Gates' four homers this season have come at GCS Ballpark, where the short right-field wall favors left-handed batters like him.

"Every time I come here, I am loving it,'' Gates said. "It's a great park. I'm kind of jealous of the Grizzlies. It's a fun place to play, and it was a good win for us.''

The Grizzlies (33-17) had a two-game winning streak snapped.

The Miners (27-22) won for the fifth time in their last seven games.

Southern Illinois starter Rick Teasley, who threw a no-hitter against Joliet earlier this season. gave up three runs in six innings to raise his record to 6-1.

Britt Robertshaw, James Bielein and Stew Brase each pitched a 1-2-3 inning to close out the final three innings for the Miners.

The four pitchers combined for 11 strikeouts.

Grizzlies manager Phil Warren said his squad needs to cut down on its strikeouts.

Gateway hitters have struck out a Frontier League-leading 440 times this season.

"No complaints about my club right now (with) the effort that is coming every night, but the effort is being rolled out there in vain,'' Warren said. "We've struck out 46 times over our last four games. You get 27 outs. Well over a third of our outs per game are strikeouts, whether it is looking or swinging. That's astronomical. If you take half of those and just put the ball in play, a lot of things could happen.

"When you are striking out that much, you're not walking. Balls aren't being put in play, (so) there is no pressure on the defense. That has got to change. Until we get that fixed, sometimes we are not going to overcome just one bad inning by our starter.''

The Grizzlies took a 1-0 lead in the first inning as Madison Beaird walked with one out and Niko Vasquez followed with a double to right-center field.

The Grizzlies went up 2-0 on a solo homer by Ben Waldrip.

Waldrip sent a 1-0 offering from Southern Illinois starter Rick Teasley (5-1) off the scoreboard in right field.

It was Waldrip's sixth homer of the season.

"I got in a hitter's count, and I was just looking for something in the middle of the zone and something I could handle,'' Waldrip said. "I got it.''

The Miners pulled in front 4-2 with four runs in the fourth inning.

A three-run homer by Gates off the first pitch from Grizzlies starter TylerThompson (3-1) highlighted the rally.

"The first at-bat, I'd walked on four straight pitches,'' Gates said. "I came up with runners at first and second, it was a big time in the game, and I was looking for a pitch to drive. I got it, and I put a pretty good swing on it.''

The Miners scored another run in the fourth after Gates' homer as Steve Marino doubled, advanced to third on a single by Chris Burke and scored on a ground out by Matt Jones.

Warren said Thompson left a changeup up over the middle of the plate to Gates.

"The bottom line was they weren't getting to his fastball, and he helped them out,'' Warren said. "He sped them up a little bit, made a mistake the middle and they made him pay.

"The four-spot wasn't a physical thing, it wasn't a stuff thing. It was mental thing. We talked about it. He's a young pitcher and he's going to learn from it.''

The Miners got a run in the fifth inning on an unsual play.

With the bases loaded, Marino hit a pop up to shallow left field.

Grizzlies shortstop Tommy Richards and left fielder Xavier Macklin let the ball drop, but the umpire had already called the infield fly rule.

Marquis Riley scored from third on the play.

Gaetway's Michael Wing scored on a single by Richards in the sixth inning as the Grizzlies cut their deficit to 5-3.

Contact reporter Steve Korte at skorte@bnd.com or 239-2522.

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