Evansville’s bats came alive Saturday, providing run support behind a quality outing from starting pitcher Austin Nicely.
Nicely tossed seven innings of shutout baseball en route to the victory, allowing only three hits and striking out four.
Like Friday, the Otters jumped on the scoreboard first.
Mike Rizzitello led off the top of the third with a double.
J.J. Gould followed with a walk, and David Cronin bunted to move both runners to second and third with one out.
A sac fly by Keith Grieshaber scored Rizzitello to give the Otters a 1-0 lead. At the same time, Gould stole third.
A wild pitch by Crushers starter Dylan Mouzakes allowed Gould to take home and give the Otters a 2-0 lead.
Ryan Long followed with a double, his second of the game.
Long then went on to steal third, sliding safely headfirst, and an overthrow by Crushers catcher Bryan DeLaRosa to third base sailed into left field, allowing Long to take home, extending the Otters lead to three.
That would be enough run support for Nicely, who was able to work around some hits and walks in the first two innings. Nicely worked out of a bases-loaded jam in the first with a groundball to third and worked around runners on the corners and no outs with a double play started by Gould at shortstop.
From the third inning on, three of the next four innings went 1-2-3 for Nicely.
In the top of the fourth with two outs and runners on second and third, Gould roped a two-run single that scored Carlos Castro and Hunter Cullen with two outs, giving the Otters a 5-0 lead.
Mouzakes would pitch five innings, but the damage was already done by the Otters’ offense. The right-hander gave up five runs – two earned – on six hits, earning the loss.
In the top of the ninth, the Otters would add insurance as Gould hit another RBI single, scoring Cullen, and Cronin scored Gould on an RBI double, giving the Otters a 7-0 lead.
Gould would have a solid day at the plate, going 2-3 with three RBIs and a run scored.
Chris Cepeda finished the final two innings on the mound for the Otters, running into some trouble in the ninth.
Seven Crushers came to the plate, with a two-RBI double from Aaron Hill and an RBI single by Bodie Bryan. Three runs were scored in the inning, but Ryan Long ended the game by catching a line drive at third, and Cepeda finished it off, providing rest for the Otters’ bullpen.
The Otters will look for a series win Sunday at 1 p.m. with Jake Welch on the mound, facing off against Lake Erie’s Alex Romero.
Broadcast coverage can be found on the radio at 91.5 FM WUEV or at evansvilleotters.com with Dave Nguyen on the call.
The Otters are celebrating their 25th anniversary season in 2019.
The Otters will return home to Bosse Field June 25 for a six-game homestand against the Schaumburg Boomers and River City Rascals.
Highlighted promotions for that homestand include $2 Tuesday, Deaconess Strike Out Stroke Night, 14 WFIE and Bud Light Thirsty Thursday, Holly’s House and Deaconess Women’s Hospital Night, Deaconess Employee Night and Princess Night with postgame fireworks, and Sunday’s series finale presented by North American Light, an Indiana Tool Plant.
To purchase a season ticket or group outing package, call (812) 435-8686 or visit the Bosse Field front office at 23 Don Mattingly Way, Evansville, Ind. The front office is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The Evansville Otters are the 2006 and 2016 Frontier League champions.
The Otters play all home games at historic Bosse Field, located at 23 Don Mattingly Way in Evansville, Ind. Stay up-to-date with the Evansville Otters by visiting evansvilleotters.com, or follow the Otters on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.