Despite two game-tying, five-run rallies in the late innings, the Evansville Otters fell short of a series victory with a 13-10 loss Thursday night against the Florence Y’alls.
The first half of the ballgame belonged to the Y’alls, beginning with a four-run opening for Florence in the bottom of the first. One double and four singles, matched with a strikeout-passed ball and sac fly, brought four home off of Otters starter Tim Holdgrafer.
Holdgrafer would settle in after the rocky frame. The Otters’ rookie put up two scoreless frames before he was bitten by a solo shot from the Y’alls number nine hitter, Connor Crane, who touched up the righty in the bottom of the fourth for Holdgrafer’s only other run allowed. Florence then led 5-0.
The Y’alls’ hill-taker, Kevin Hahn, held Evansville at bay through his first five innings, but the Otters’ approach paid dividends in the sixth.
The inning began with a base hit from Andrew Penner, whose single was only the second hit allowed by Hahn to that point. Following Hahn’s third strikeout, Miles Gordon but runs on first and third with a knock of his own.
Andy DeJesus drove home the Otters’ first run of the day with a sac fly to left. J.R. Davis would follow DeJesus’ productive at-bat with a base on balls. Over the course of Davis’ plate appearance, Miles Gordon would steal third and score on an errant throw by the Y’alls catcher Trevor Craport.
Riley Krane followed up Davis’ walk with a double, before Elijah MacNamee brought the Otters within one on a perfectly placed base hit to the right side and through the infield, advancing to second on the throw home.
Andretty Cordero would then tie the game on an RBI-liner to right, scoring MacNamee, concluding a five run game-tying top of the sixth. The score then stood at 5-5.
Jacob Bowles would relieve Holdgrafer to begin the Y’alls half of the sixth. Bowles followed a leadoff walk with a popout and strikeout, but was pulled following his second free pass of the inning that put the go-ahead run in scoring position.
Tyler Spring would relieve Bowles ahead of facing the three-hole hitter Chad Sedio, who drew a walk. With the bases loaded, Trevor Craport then delivered a go-ahead, two run single, before Axel Johnson clubbed a three run homer to right. Florence then regained their five run advantage.
The Otters were not then content to quit. Evansville would tie the game again with a five-run rally in the top of the seventh, as Miles Gordon drove in a couple with his second base hit, before J.R. Davis plugged a sac fly to center and Riley Krane hit a run-scoring double to bring the Otters within one.
An inning and an at-bat following his two-run base hit to right, Elijah MacNamee would tie the game with a double to right-center, completing the rally and notching the score at 10-10.
Evansville could only hound Florence for so long, however, as the Y’alls pulled away in the bottom of the seventh on a sacrifice fly off of Taylor Wright, who relieved Justin Lewis after the lefty loaded the bases on a fielding error and two free passes.
Wright would limit the damage in the inning to one, but two insurance runs would cross in the bottom of the eighth after Wright put two aboard after two walks. Samson Abernathy then relieved Wright to get the final two outs of the inning.
Though the Otters managed to bring the tying run to the plate in the top of the ninth, they could not overcome the three-run deficit and fell by the final score of 13-10.
Justin Lewis took the loss, while Alex Wagner earned the win. Andrew McDonald picked up his fifth save of the year.
Evansville will return home to face the Southern Illinois Miners at Bosse Field Friday, July 17. First pitch is scheduled for 6:35 p.m.