Early offense gives Welch, Otte

After scoring four unanswered runs in the last two innings on Tuesday, the Evansville Otters scored four runs after the first two innings on Wednesday, going on to win 5-2 on the road against the Southern Illinois Miners.

With the win, the Otters clinched a series win to set up an opportunity for a road sweep Thursday.


Evansville scored their first tally in the top of the first inning, getting a single by Keith Grieshaber, who would come around to score two batters later off an RBI double by Elijah MacNamee.


In the top of the second inning, the Otters struck for three runs against Miners starter Andrew Bernstein.


Mike Rizzitello got into scoring position with a double, advanced to third on a wild pitch, and scored on an RBI single by Tanner Wetrich.


A single from David Cronin put runners on the corners. Wetrich scored from third on an RBI single from Grieshaber.


Ryan Long followed with a consecutive single to score Cronin and put the Otters ahead 4-0.


Otters starter Jake Welch had the run support he needed, retiring nine of his first 11 batters.


Welch faced a little adversity in the fourth as the Miners forced the bases loaded with two outs. A walk to Joe Duncan scored Jamey Smart, but Welch stopped the bleeding there with a strikeout to strand the bases loaded.


Bernstein would pitch six innings, allowing four runs-three earned-on 10 hits and three walks with five strikeouts. He was handed the loss, dropping his record to 2-2.


The Otters added another run in the top of the seventh, as Taylor Lane scored on a pass ball, making the score 5-1 Otters.


Welch looked strong after six innings and headed out to the mound in the seventh inning.


Joe Duncan led off the bottom of the seventh with a single and later scored on an RBI single from Yeltsin Gudino, cutting the Otters lead to 5-2.


Otters reliever Drew Beyer entered to take the baseball from Welch to finish off the seventh.


Welch went 6.2 innings, surrendering two runs on six hits while striking out nine. Welch would earn the win, improving his record to 7-5.


Beyer pitched a clean eighth inning as well, getting another strikeout before giving way to closer Taylor Wright in the ninth.


Wright retired the Miners in order to earn back-to-back saves in the series and his 15th of the season.


Offensively, Cronin and Rizzitello each finished with two hits apiece, and Grieshaber logged three hits Wednesday.


Evansville will seek a road sweep in the series finale Thursday with first pitch at 6:35 p.m. from Rent One Park in Marion, Ill.