Tuesday, February 12, 2008


February 12, 2008

MARION, Ill. – The Southern Illinois Miners will have two important arms back next year as they have re-signed pitchers Travis Hope and Nick Tisone for the 2008 season.

“These are two great returning pitchers on our roster for the 2008 season,” Miners Manager Mike Pinto said.

Hope joined the Miners as a starting pitcher in 2007 but quickly settled into the closer role following an early season injury to Jason Adams. Hope was nearly unhittable in the second half of the season as he allowed just one run in 28.1 innings of work after the all-star break. During that stretch he recorded nine saves and posted an ERA of 0.32. He finished the year with a franchise best 14 saves and a 1.61 ERA. He held opposing hitters to a .194 average in the second half and a .235 average overall.

A native of Marion, Hope played high school ball at Marion High School before signing with the New York Mets. In three seasons with the Mets organization, Hope went 11-5 with a 3.73 ERA.

“Travis was my go to guy at the end of games last season,” Pinto said. “He just has such a great mentality for taking the game into his hands with the pressure on, and he seems to thrive in these situations. Closing the game out is such a big part of the game, and I am excited to know I have that part of the roster in hand.”

Tisone led the team in wins (eight), starts (19), innings (127.1) and strikeouts (79) in 2007. He also came within four outs of a perfect game when he threw a one-hit shutout against the Traverse City Beach Bums on July 29. His only base runner in that game came on an eighth inning broken bat single.

Before joining the Miners, Tisone spent two seasons in the Atlanta Braves minor league system. In 42 games, only three of them starts, Tisone posted a combined record of 6-5 with a 3.56 ERA with four Braves affiliates.

“Nick had a great year for us last season,” Pinto said. “I had a chance to see him throw a few weeks ago in Arizona, and with his off-season work, he could be even better for us this year. Nick should be one of the leaders of our rotation this season.”

Hope and Tisone join shortstop Mike Scanzano as the first players to re-sign from the inaugural 2007 season.

“It starts with pitching,” Miners General Manager Tim Arseneau said. “And we’re bringing back two key ones right here.”

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