Nicely’s five-hit shutout gives Otters win over Crushers

Austin Nicely went the distance, throwing a five-hit shutout Wednesday as the Evansville Otters defeated the Lake Erie Crushers 6-0 to even the series.

The Otters came of the gate in a big way, scoring four runs in the top of the first inning.

David Cronin sparked the offense by leading off with a double. After a groundout moved him over to third, Ryan Long drove him on a single and give the Otters a 1-0 lead.

Following back-to-back walks to Elijah MacNamee and Dakota Phillips to load the bases, Keith Grieshaber and Mike Rizzitello hit consecutive RBI singles to extend the Otters’ lead to three with the bases remaining loaded.

Hunter Cullen worked a bases loaded, RBI walk that brought Phillips home and push the Otters’ fourth run across.

In the top of the first, the Otters sent 10 men to the plate, scoring four runs on Lake Erie starter David Lemasters, who was making his professional debut.

Lemasters would settle in, throwing four shutout innings after the first. He would end the day with five innings pitched, allowing four runs on seven hits with three strikeouts. He earned the loss, dropping his record to 0-1.

Nicely was able to cruise throughout the game, keeping the Crushers’ lineup off-balance. He left nine runners on base, four of them in scoring position.

The only trouble Nicely faced was in the first inning, when the Crushers had runners on the corners and one out. Dale Burdick would popup to Tanner Wetrich and Steven Kraft grounded out to end the frame.

The Otters would add two insurance runs in the top of the ninth as Wetrich hit an RBI single to score Grieshaber, and Cullen would cross home plate on a throwing error by Crushers catcher Bryan DeLaRosa, giving the Otters a 6-0 lead.

After hitting the leadoff batter, Brody Wofford, with a pitch, Nicely used his defense to retire the next three batters to end the game.

With the win, Nicely improved his record to 4-7, his second win at Sprenger Stadium.