Otters clinch postseason berth with win against Grizzlies

EVANSVILLE, Ind. – The Evansville Otters accomplished what they needed to do Thursday to earn a postseason berth, getting a win against the Gateway Grizzlies in the series finale 6-5.

In completing the sweep of the Grizzlies, the Otters clinched their fourth straight postseason appearance. The win also has brought the Otters to within one victory of tying the franchise record for wins in a season at 57, which was set in 2014

The Otters’ offense came out with energy and swinging early, and the Otters also received a strong eight innings by starter Matt Quintana.

In the bottom of the first, Evansville batted around and scored five runs.

David Cronin extended his on-base streak to 19 straight games, leading off the bottom of the first with a ground rule double.

After Keith Grieshaber walked and Elijah MacNamee singled, Taylor Lane hit a two-RBI single with the bases loaded to give the Otters a 2-0 lead.

Grizzlies starter Ian Kahaloa would walk the bases loaded, including a walk to Hunter Cullen to score MacNamee, pushing the Otters ahead 3-0.

With two outs, J.J. Gould came through with a two-RBI single to score Lane and Rob Calabrese, allowing Quintana to have a 5-0 lead going into the second inning.

The only skid mark on Quintana’s line was a two-RBI single from Wesley Jones in the top of the fourth, his fifth hit of the series, as the Grizzlies reduced the Otters’ lead to 5-2.

From that point on, Quintana was stellar. He retired 11 straight batters before allowing a one-out single in the eighth. He would toss eight innings with six strikeouts, allowing two runs on five hits. He would earn the win, his second as an Otter, improving his overall record to 8-3.

After the first inning, Gateway starter Ian Kahaloa sharpened his game and grinded out five innings in the start, surrendering the five runs on eight hits with five walks and strikeouts. He was given the loss, his second to the Otters this season, dropping his record to 3-7.

Mike Rizzitello’s sac fly to score Lane in the bottom of the seventh, to make the score 6-2, proved to be a vital run by the end of the game, as the Grizzlies did not go out quietly in the ninth.

After two walks to begin the frame, Otters closer and the Frontier League’s Rookie of the Year Taylor Wright entered the game.

Wright was able to get two quick outs, but Greg White then ripped an RBI single to make the score 6-3, his first hit of the series.

Zak Taylor followed with a two-RBI double to score Shawon Dunston Jr. and White, as the Grizzlies brought the game back to within one run, a 6-5 score in the ninth.

Wright was then able to get Connor Owings to groundout to second to end the game and seal the Otters’ postseason berth.

Wright would earn his 18th save of the year.

Lane had two hits, two RBIs and two runs scored, and Gould also had a multi-RBI game.

Cronin, MacNamee, and Cullen each had two hits for the Otters as well.

The postseason will start next Tuesday as the Otters have their eyes set on winning the West Division title and awaiting who their opponent in the postseason will be.

The Otters’ magic number to clinch a West Division title is at three.

For Evansville to win the division, they’ll need to find some success in their last series and road trip of the regular when they travel to Marion, Ill. for a weekend series against the Southern Illinois Miners.

First pitch Friday is at 7:05 p.m. CT from Rent One Park in Marion, Ill.

Broadcast coverage can be found on the radio at 91.5 WUEV-FM or WUEV.org with Dave Nguyen (play-by-play) on the call.

The Otters are celebrating their 25th anniversary season in 2019.

The Evansville Otters want to thank all fans and corporate partners for their support and help in making the Otters’ 25th anniversary season a success.

To purchase a playoff pass or a group outing, 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.

For more information, visit evansvilleotters.com or call 812-435-8686.

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