Updated: July 13, 2014 5:20PM
During a brief, on-the-field meeting before Wednesday night’s doubleheader, Joliet manager Jeff Isom asked the Slammers to end the scheduled seven-inning games in 6½ innings.
The opener took a little longer, but it was worth the wait for Isom and the Slammers.
Joliet’s Adam Lewis delivered a game-winning base hit in the bottom of the eighth, his first RBI of the season, to score Adam Giacalone from second for a 4-3 victory over Traverse City at Silver Cross Field.
Traverse City, however, won the nightcap 8-3 to raise its record to 11-12 and end the Slammers’ four-game winning streak. Joliet fell to 10-13.
In Game 2, Traverse City went ahead 6-1 with a five-run fifth, aided by two walks and a wild pitch. The Beach Bums had five hits in the inning and scored all the runs with two outs.
Joliet’s Chad Stang (2-for-3) had a two-run single in the sixth to close the gap to 6-3.
Wednesday’s opener was the third extra-inning contest for the Slammers in their last five games, including a 2-1 victory Sunday over River City.
“It feels good, feels great,’’ Lewis said after the game-winning hit. “We’ve been playing a lot of extra-inning games, just got to stay positive.
“I had two strikes on me. I didn’t try to do too much.’’
Joliet tied the first game 3-3 in the fourth with a perfect squeeze bunt by Tyler Grogg to score Lewis, who had doubled and moved to third on a hit by Max Casper (2-for-3).
“We were together on that. It worked out good,’’ said Lewis, Joliet’s backup catcher and former St. Louis Cardinals farmhand.
Marquis Riley (2-for-4, 2 runs, RBI) homered in the first inning for a 1-1 tie. Traverse City’s Taylor Wrenn led off the game with a home run.
In the third inning, Riley reached on an infield hit, stole second and scored on a base hit by Russell Moldenhauer (2-for-4, RBI) for a 2-1 Joliet lead.
Moldenhauer has done his part to try to get the Slammers above .500. The team’s designated hitter was named Frontier League Player of the Week after he hit .542 (13-for-24) last week with two home runs, four doubles and five RBI.
In the first inning of the nightcap, Joliet center fielder Chad Stang raced into the left-center gap to stretch out for a grab to end the inning and prevent Traverse City from scoring the first run.
Joliet has struggled at the plate as a team and was hitting a league-worst .224 going into Wednesday’s doubleheader.
“Our bats haven’t been going, and they will,’’ Isom said. “We feel like we’ve got the right personnel in here now.’’
The Slammers were confident going into the Traverse City series after they swept River City, the top hitting team in the league.
“Southern Illinois won eight in a row. River City won seven in a row,’’ Isom said. “You know what, it’s our turn.’’