13 May Miscues In Season Opener
Solid Pitching Effort Not Enough As Slammers Take First Game
July 12, Joliet, IL – The Sussex County Miners 2023 campaign, under new manager Chris Widger, had a desired result for eight and a half innings. But missed opportunities earlier in the game, and then a throwing error and timely at bats at the end of the game, sent the Joliet Slammers to a 2-1 victory over the Miners on Opening Night at Duly Health and Care Field in Joliet in front of 2912 fans.
Miners starter Mark Moclair had a tough first inning, but settled down and got himself out of a bases loaded jam in the first. The three hits that Moclair would surrender in the first would be more than the Slammers would collect in the rest of the game, however. Moclair would allow a 3rd inning single, then Griffin Baker, Jimmy Boyce, and Ronnie Voacolo would not surrender a hit from innings four through eight. The quartet of pitchers would strike out twelve Slammers on the evening, holding to their end of the pitching duel bargain.
However, Slammers starter Cole Cook would be equally as stingy, allowing just three hits over six innings in keeping the Miners off of the scoreboard. Aside from a bases loaded jam in the second inning, Cook looked to be locked in to the task of matching zeroes with the Miners pitching staff as the game went into the seventh.
The Miners would get the game’s first run in the top of the seventh. Gavin Stupienski led the inning off with a double. Cook was then pulled from the game in favor of Jared Liebelt. After a Jason Agresti groundout that advanced Stupienski to third, Jackson Valera would slap an RBI single through the drawn in infield to score Stupienski and give the Mienrs a 1-0 lead. The Miners could have added another run in the 7th, and again in the ninth, but baserunning miscues would prevent the Miners from scoring more.
That would come back to bite the Minersin the bottom of the ninth, as with Robbie Hitt on to close the game out, Jackson Coutts would reach on a throwing error to start the inning. After William Salas was hit by a pitch, and Tyler Depreta-Johnson sacrificed both runners over a base, J.P. Fullerton would hit a sacrifice fly to tie the game. The next batter for Joliet was Liam McArthur, and his single through the left side – the Slammers first hit since the third inning – drove home Salas with the winning run in the opening game of the three-game series.
Game two of the Opening Weekend series will see the Miners send Tyler Thornton to the mound, and he’ll be opposed by Cameron Aufterheide. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 PM EDT, and the Miners broadcast can be heard at https://scminers.mixlr.com/events/2249396