Burdick crushes Otters’ comeback effort


In a game that was scoreless through seven and half innings, the Evansville Otters fell 4-3 to the Lake Erie Crushers Thursday on Dale Burdick’s walk-off single in the bottom of the ninth inning.

Lake Erie broke the scoreless tie with three runs in the bottom of the eighth, and Evansville answered back with three runs in the top of the ninth, but Burdick’s heroics gave Lake Erie the series win.


Thursday was a pitcher’s duel between Tyler Vail and Pat Ledet and was as good as advertised going into the game, as the game was scoreless through seven and half innings.


Vail’s night ended after seven innings, allowing only four hits while striking out seven and walking three.


He ran into a bases-loaded jam with one out in the bottom of the seventh, but back-to-back strikeouts shut the door on the Crushers.


In the first five innings, the Otters’ leadoff batter was able to get on base in each inning. Of the four runners left on base for the Otters in the first five innings, all four were in scoring position.


Ledet was pitching well going into the eighth inning, but a walk by J.J. Gould followed by a single by David Cronin caused Lake Erie to pull their All-Star.


Augie Gallardo came in on relief, striking out Keith Grieshaber and forcing Elijah MacNamee to groundout and end the frame.


Ledet would toss 7.1 shutout innings, allowing only three hits and three walks, while ringing up seven Otter batters. He would finish with a no-decision.


In the bottom of the eighth, Aaron Hill walked, and Emmanuel Morrero singled to put runners on first and second with no outs. Zach Racusin then broke the scoreless tie on a two-RBI single off Otters reliever Michael Gizzi to give the Crushers a 2-0 lead.


Lefty reliever Cam Opp relieved Gizzi and allowed an RBI single by Crushers first baseman Jake Veith to extend the Lake Erie lead to three.


After being held scoreless through eight innings, the Otters could not have chosen a better time to break through offensively, coming back in the top of the ninth.


Closer Logan Lombana came on in the top of the ninth with a three-run cushion and could not hold onto the lead.


With one out and Mike Rizzitello on first, Jack Meggs hit an RBI double to give the Otters their first run of the game.


Ryan Long entered the game to pinch hit for Tanner Wetrich, and ripped a double to centerfield, advancing Meggs to third.


An RBI groundout from Hunter Cullen allowed the Otters to cut the Crushers’ lead to one.


Dakota Phillips also entered as a pinch hitter for J.J. Gould and hit a double to score Long, tying the game at three.


It was the first time the Otters came back from any deficit heading into the ninth inning. Thursday was Lombana’s second blown save opportunity this past week.


Heading into the bottom of the ninth, Dondrei Hubbard was 0-10 before singling off of Cam Opp for his first professional hit. Aaron Hill singled to put runners on first and second with no outs.


After Opp struck out Emmanuel Morrero to record the first out, the Otters lefty was pulled in relief for right-hander Drew Beyer.


Beyer would walk Zach Racusin to load the bases with one out. Burdick would step to the plate, going 0-2 with a walk and a hit by pitch previously in the game, and hit a walk-off single to score Hubbard, clinching the series win for the Crushers.


Despite blowing the save, Lombana would get the win, his first of 2019. Opp would get the loss, moving his record to 2-1.


The Otters will return home to Bosse Field to face the Southern Illinois Miners this weekend for the first time since Opening Weekend in May.