The Evansville Otters spoiled the Joliet Slammers’ home opener Tuesday night, besting their opponent with a 6-3 win from Joliet Route 66 Stadium.
For the fourth straight game to start the season, Evansville scored the game’s first run against their opponent.
The Otters got on the board in the top of the first inning when Zach Welz lined a ball just inside the left field foul pole for his first home run of the year, giving Evansville a 1-0 lead.
Joliet would respond immediately in the bottom half of the inning. After a leadoff single and an Evansville error, Travis Bolin scored on a sac fly by Justin Garcia to tie the game 1-1.
In the third, the teams would trade one run a piece.
The Otters scored on a Jeff Gardner sac fly and Joliet countered with a run off a throwing error by Otters’ starting pitcher Austin Nicely.
Evansville jumped back in front 3-2 in the top of the fourth off a solo home run from Caleb Eldridge, his second of the season.
Joliet proceeded to tie the game in the bottom of the fifth on a passed ball that scored Chaz Meadows.
The Otters claimed the lead for good in the top of the sixth as Eldridge laced an RBI single to center, moving the Otters ahead by a score of 4-3.
Toby Thomas tacked on two insurance runs in the top of the seventh, grounding a two-run single past a drawn-in infield to put the Otters up 6-3.
Offensively, Eldridge finished 2 for 3 with a pair of RBIs while Thomas went 2 for 5 with two RBIs.
Evansville’s Mitchell Aker capped off four scoreless innings of relief by the Otters’ bullpen, setting the Slammers down in order in the bottom of the ninth to pick up his second save of the season.
Nicely went five innings in the start for the Otters as he earned his first win of the season. Nicely struck out five while allowing three runs en route to the victory.
Duke Von Schamann was saddled with the loss for Joliet after throwing 5.2 innings pitched and getting tagged for four runs.
With the win, the Otters get back to .500 on the season at 2-2 while the Slammers remain winless at 0-4.
The two teams will play game two of the three game series tomorrow morning at 10:05 a.m. from Joliet Route 66 Stadium in Joliet, Ill.