Miners hand ThunderBolts third straight loss
BY STEVE MILLAR For Sun-Times Media June 15, 2013 9:58PM
Updated: June 16, 2013 11:13PM
The Battle of Bellevue did not go the Windy City ThunderBolts’ way Saturday night.
Windy City’s Matt Wickswat and the Southern Illinois Miners’ Travis Bradshaw — both natives of Bellevue, Wash. — squared off on the mound.
Wickswat, a former Double-A pitcher in the White Sox organization, struggled as the Miners clinched a series win, running away with an 8-3 victory in front of 2,136 fans at Standard Bank Stadium in Crestwood.
Wickswat fell to 2-3 with a 5.75 ERA after allowing five earned runs (six total) on six hits in 51/3 innings.
Windy City (9-18) dropped its third straight following a for-game winning streak.
The T-Bolts jumped to a quick lead as Nate Pittman walked and Mike Torres singled to start the home half of the first. Two outs later, Mokena resident Andrew Brauer came through with a clutch two-run single up the middle.
It was all Southern Illinois from there, though, as Windy City’s bats were slowed the rest of the way by Bradshaw and four relievers.
“We’ve had a problem all year where when we give a lead back, we have a difficult time offensively picking up our pitchers and defense,” said Torres, who singled and walked twice. “We had some at-bats that were completely different from that first inning. When you give into pitchers, that’s when you get in trouble.”
The Miners drew even with the help of some shaky defense in the second, scoring twice on two singles, two fielder’s choice grounders — both of which could have been double plays — and an error.
After Cannon Lester doubled and scored in the fifth to give the visitors a one-run lead, they broke it wide open with five runs in the sixth.
Ken Gregory and Tyler Hall produced RBI doubles in the inning, Hall’s driving in two to give Southern Illinois an 8-2 lead.
Bradshaw (1-0) earned his first professional win, going 52/3 inning and holding the T-Bolts scoreless after the first inning.
The T-Bolts added a run in the ninth as Zach Aakhus doubled and came home thanks to two walks and a hit-batter. Michael Carden struck out Nate Pittman with the bases loaded to end the game.
“Luckily we’re at home,” Torres said. “It’s always better, win or lose, to be home and we’re going to be here awhile. We’ve been in this position before and we can’t get swept at home. We’re going to come in (Sunday) with that mentality and try to scrape and battle.”