Despite a pair of home runs from two new additions, the Gateway Grizzlies fell 7-5 to the Southern Illinois Miners on Wednesday afternoon in preseason action at GCS Ballpark.
After pitcher Vince Molesky tossed two scoreless frames for Gateway to start the game, Southern Illinois struck against lefty Jordan Spencer in the third when Shane Kennedy smacked a solo homer to begin the scoring. The Miners scratched across another run against Spencer in the fourth inning, as Francisco Rosario collected an RBI single that scored Aaron Gates. The hit made it 2-0.
Richard Seigel put the Grizzlies on the board with an RBI double down the right field line in the bottom half of the fourth. Southern Illinois answered right back with Alex De Leon’s three-run blast to straight-away centerfield in the fifth inning.
The Grizzlies trailed 5-1 heading into the bottom of the fifth, but Sam Fischer inched Gateway closer with a solo shot over the right field fence to make it 5-2. The opposite field home run was the team’s first of the preseason.
In the sixth, Logan Davis led off the frame with a double. Grizzlies rookie Vin Guglietti stepped in and laced a single to left field, which scored Davis from second.
After the Miners collected a run in the eighth, Seth Heck started the bottom half of the inning by smoking a double to center field. Guglietti, a native of East Haven, Conn., then rocketed a fly ball to left centerfield that cleared the 16 ft. fence for a home run. Guglietti’s blast cut Southern Illinois’ lead to 6-5.
The one-run deficit was as close as the Grizzlies would get to tying the game, as the Miners scored in the top of the ninth against LHP Jason Ziegler.
There were bright spots in the Grizzlies’ bullpen as RHP Brett Zawacki made his first appearance of the preseason with a scoreless inning in the sixth, while rookie right-hander Adam Eggnatz tossed a perfect seventh.
The Grizzlies wrap up exhibition play in the friendly confines of GCS Ballpark this Saturday as they take on the River City Rascals at 7:05 p.m.