Welch returned to his home collegiate ballpark in front of his friends and family, throwing eight innings, allowing two unearned runs, and striking out eight on Sunday. He outdueled Lake Erie starter Alex Romero in a low-scoring contest.
Welch attended Notre Dame College of Ohio, which is a short drive from Sprenger Stadium, home of the Crushers. He felt good coming back to a familiar field and proved it on the mound in the Otters series-clinching win.
Offensively, the Otters scored the first tally of the game once again.
In the top of the third, playing right field for the first time this season, Mike Rizzitello led off with a double.
Two batters later, David Cronin hit a ground-rule double over the fence in left-centerfield, which would hold Rizzitello at third.
Ryan Long continued his hit parade with a two-out, two-RBI single to give the Otters a 2-0 lead, bringing his season RBI total to 33.
In the top of the fifth with one out, J.J. Gould smacked a single up the middle, and scored on an RBI double by Cronin, extending the Otters lead to three. It would be Cronin’s second double of the day.
In the bottom of the fifth, the Crushers would put two runs on the board.
Emmanuel Marrero led off with a double, and advanced to third after Aaron Hill reached on an error in right field.
John Cable hit a sac fly, scoring Marrero, and Karl Ellison grounded out to score Hill to make the score 3-2 in favor of Evansville.
From there, Welch was smooth sailing. Two of his next three innings went 1-2-3, shutting the door down on the Crushers. He would earn the win, improving his record to 3-1 and an ERA of 2.66.
Taylor Wright relieved Welch in the ninth and shut the Crushers down in order. Back-to-back strikeouts to Jake Vieth and Dale Burdick ended the game, giving Wright 30 strikeouts on the year and his fourth save of the season.
The Otters return home for a six-game homestand, starting Tuesday against the Schaumburg Boomers for a three-game set. First pitch from Bosse Field will be at 6:35 p.m.
Broadcast Coverage can be found on the Otters Digital Network via YouTube or on the radio at 91.5 FM WUEV with Dave Nguyen (play-by-play) and Bill McKeon 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.