SAUGET, Ill. – The Evansville Otters were not to be trifled with on Sunday, launching six home runs over the wall towards a 15-1 blowout win against the Gateway Grizzlies.
The series win in the rubber game started well in the first inning for the Otters. Andy DeJesus led off with a ground-rule double before Josh Allen hit his second home run this season for the Otters, giving the Otters an early 2-0 lead.
The Otters took a 3-0 lead in the top of the second inning on an RBI single from Miles Gordon.
In the bottom of the third, Gateway’s Jack Harris hit a home run, his second of the series, to bring the Grizzlies back within two, 3-1.
It was all Evansville the rest of the way.
The Otters hit three of their six home runs in the top of the fifth, including a solo shot from Andy DeJesus, his third of the season, and then back-to-back big flies by Jeffrey Baez and Riley Krane. Krane’s home run was his 16th of the season, but Baez was not done there. Evansville led 6-1.
Evansville tallied five more runs in the top of the seventh, highlighted by a two-run homer off the bat of Baez once more for his second of the game.
Baez recorded home runs number five and six since joining the Otters a little over a week ago.
The other three runs in the seventh were scored on an RBI double by Dakota Phillips and RBI groundouts by Gary Mattis and Andrew Penner. The Otters extended their advantage to 11-1.
Before the end of the night, the Otters’ offense had more in store for the Grizzlies’ pitching staff.
With the bases loaded in the top of the ninth, veteran John Schultz made his way to the plate for his first at-bat of the evening and cleared the bases with a grand slam, his second homer of the season, which made the score 15-1.
The grand slam by Schultz was the Otters’ sixth of the season, as Riley Krane has three, Dakota Phillips has one, and J.R. Davis has one.
Offensively, DeJesus and Krane each had three-hit nighs, Allen had two runs and two RBIs, Baez finished with three RBIs, and Davis and Gordon each had a pair of hits.
All 10 Evansville batters recorded a hit, and nine of the 10 registered an RBI.
As a team, the Otters surpassed their previous season-high for home runs in a game and total RBIs. They also matched a season-high of 15 hits.
While the Otters’ offense was rolling, starting pitcher Polo Portela was cruising on the mound, not allowing any strong momentum for Gateway to build.
Another credit to Portela and the Otters’ pitching staff Sunday by not allowing Gateway to answer Evansville’s offensive output, as the Grizzlies had done on a few occasions throughout the series.
For Portela, he picked up win number nine on the season, going seven innings and striking out four. The solo homer by Harris was the only run allowed.
Relievers Augie Gallardo and Joe Riley each pitched a scoreless inning to finish the game.
Gateway’s Matt Mulhearn took the loss. He went five innings and allowed six runs.
Another positive for Evansville was the defense, bouncing back from Saturday’s loss with zero errors in the field Sunday.
Evansville became the first Frontier League team to reach 50 wins this season on Sunday, continuing the organization’s recent success of consecutively hitting the 50-win mark in a season.
Following Sunday’s games, the Otters are back ahead 1.5 games ahead of the Florence Y’alls in the Frontier League West Division standings, following Florence’s loss Sunday to Southern Illinois.
As the countdown on Evansville’s magic number to clinch the division intensifies, their magic number is 13.
Following an off-day Monday, the Otters will continue their season-long road swing Tuesday to begin a three-game set at the Southern Illinois Miners.
The first pitch Tuesday is 7:05 p.m. from Rent One Park in Marion, Ill.
Evansville Otters broadcast coverage Tuesday can be found on the Evansville Otters Youtube channel.
The Evansville Otters are the 2006 and 2016 Frontier League champions.
The Otters play all home games at historic Bosse Field, located at 23 Don Mattingly Way in Evansville, Ind. Stay up-to-date with the Evansville Otters by visiting evansvilleotters.com, or follow the Otters on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
For more information, visit evansvilleotters.com or call (812) 435-8686.