Miners 2 Bolts 0
MARION, IL – Matt Bywater shut the ThunderBolts out for eight innings Tuesday night as the Bolts were dealt their fifth straight loss, 2-0 to the Southern Illinois Miners at Rent One Park.
The ThunderBolts had several chances early to take a lead but couldn’t push a run across. They left the bases loaded in the first and in the third, they put runners at second and third with only one out but Bywater worked his way out of it with a strikeout and a groundout.
Josh Spence was sharp early, allowing just two baserunners in the first three innings. In the fourth, the Miners loaded the bases with no outs on two singles and a walk. Chris Burke’s deep flyout broke the scoreless tie, scoring Frank Martinez.
Martinez made the score 2-0 the following inning with a sacrifice fly of his own. He scored Matt Howard, who had tripled.
Spence settled back in, retiring the final five batters he faced. Victor Larez pitched the final two innings out of the bullpen and allowed only an infield single.
Bywater calmed down after his first three shaky innings. He retired ten consecutive hitters at one point and did not allow a runner past first base after the third.
In all, Bywater (4-1) would go eight shutout innings, picking up the win. It was his fifth straight start that saw him go at least seven innings. Spence (0-3) was the tough-luck loser, allowing two runs in six innings. Derrick Miramontes worked a perfect ninth inning for his 11th save.
The series will continue from Rent One Park on Wednesday night. Daniel Cropper (2-6, 6.46) will start game two for the ThunderBolts against Southern Illinois’s Miguel Ramirez (3-3, 3.85). First pitch against the Miners is scheduled for 7:05 and the broadcast can be heard on meridix.com.