Offensive explosion pushes Otters past Grizzlies, 11-5

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Behind an offensive outburst, the Evansville Otters beat the Gateway Grizzlies 11-5 to win the three-game series in front of 3,560 fans at Bosse Field on Thursday night.

The Otters opened the scoring in the bottom of the first inning. Toby Thomas singled through the hole on the left side to score David Cronin and put the Otters up 1-0. Manny Cruz then came through with a two-out two-run single to put Evansville up 3-0.

Gateway got one run back in the top of the second on a Joel McKeithan RBI single.

The Grizzlies got within one in the third with an RBI base hit from Trae Santos.

The Otters pushed the lead to 4-2 in the bottom of the frame on a Cronin RBI base knock.

The Otters tacked on another run in the fifth on another Cronin RBI single to take a 5-2 lead.

Gateway tied the game with three runs in the top of the sixth. McKeithan picked up his second RBI hit of the day to pull Gateway to within two. Then with two outs, Artemis Kadkhodian singled home two runs to tie the game at 5-5.

The Otters responded with three runs of their own in the bottom of the sixth. Travis Harrison doubled home Jeff Gardner before Cruz picked up his third RBI of the game with a single to right. The inning was capped off with a Hunter Cullen single that scored Cruz and put the Otters up 8-5.

Evansville added three more runs on in the eighth for their third, three-run inning of the game. A Mike Rizzitello sacrifice fly scored Harrison which was followed by an RBI triple from Cullen. Cronin picked up his third RBI of the game when he singled home Cullen to give the Otters an 11-5 lead.

The Otters offense clicked up and down the lineup as the squad set new season highs for most runs, 11, and hits, 17, in a single game. Every player in the Otters lineup reached base at least twice.

Cruz lead the offensive charge with four hits and three runs driven in. Cronin garnered three hits as well as three RBI and Cullen added three hits of his own, including an RBI triple.

Otters starter Ty Hensley did not factor into the decision after tossing four innings and giving up two runs and punching out four.

Grizzlies starter Dakota Smith also receives a no-decision. Smith tossed 4.1 innings, giving up five runs.

Garrett Harris gets the win out of the bullpen for the Otters, his first of the year. Harris pitched two innings, allowing three runs and striking out four batters.

Patrick Boyle is dealt his second loss of the year for Gateway. Boyle allowed three runs in 1.1 innings.

The Otters will now hit the road for a three-game set against the River City Rascals in O’Fallon, Missouri.

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