The Gateway Grizzlies continued their winning way at GCS Ballpark in Sauget, Ill., on Tuesday, by scoring the first eight runs of the game, then holding on late, for a 10-7 victory over the visiting Southern Illinois Miners.
A fired up crowd of 3,044 fans saw Gateway score eight times in the first four innings to knock Southern Illinois starter Tyler Lavigne (3-1) out of the game after just three-plus innings of work.
Landon Hernandez, Michael Wing, and Ben Waldrip drove in runs in that first inning.
Xavier Macklin followed suit with an RBI single in the third, then came back to add the big blow of the night -- a two-run homer in the fourth that made the score 8-0 Grizzlies.
Southern Illinois made a game of it, with five runs in the fifth, but Gateway added single runs in the sixth and seventh innings to go back up 10-5, before the Miners picked up a couple of runs in the ninth to close out the scoring.
Rookie righthander Aaron Newcomb (5-1) picked up the win for the Grizzlies, going five innings and allowing five runs on four hits and three walks with two strikeouts.
Newcomb almost managed to get through the five innings with just one run allowed, but Southern Illinois' Chris Burke launched a grand slam home run off the Centralia, Ill. native to help get the Miners back in the game.
The former Delta State star Newcomb, then got a fly out off the bat of Southern Illinois' Aaron Gates for the final out of the inning.
Five relievers worked in back of Newcomb to close out the final four innings, including Chris DeBoo, Tyler Thompson, and Aaron Baker, who each held the Miners scoreless in their one inning of work.
Jake Stephens got two outs in the ninth, but couldn't get that last out, which forced Gateway to use closer Richard Barrett for the final out.
The veteran righty walked a man, but managed to get a weak groundball off of Burke to finish the game.
It was Barrett's seventh save of the season.
Gateway and Southern Illinois will play Game 2 of their three-game set Wednesday morning, with a special 11:35 a.m. start time at GCS Ballpark.
The series finale will be Thursday evening with the first pitch slated for 7:05 p.m.