EVANSVILLE, Ind. – The Evansville Otters completed a home series sweep of the Lake Erie Crushers Thursday, winning with a walk-off in game one and winning a home run derby in game two.
Game one ended with a score of 2-1. The second game was tied at four after eight innings, and was decided by a 4-2 home-run derby finale. The Otters improve to 6-1 on the season.
In game one, the Otters first fell behind after Lake Erie’s Trevor Achenbach hit a solo shot off of Otters starter Dalton Stambaugh.
Christopher Pujols answered the Crushers’ tally with an RBI single in the bottom of the second inning that scored Riley Krane.
Stambaugh impressed on the mound, throwing six innings while striking out six, walking one, and allowing four hits. The Achenbach home run was the only run allowed by Stambaugh.
Abraham Almonte came out of the Otters’ bullpen, and pitched a scoreless seventh before the game went to extras.
The Otters played their first 2021 regular season game under the international tie-breaker rules when the game remained tied at one after seven innings. Almonte stayed on to pitch, getting a play that would cut down General McArthur — the extra runner — on a play at the plate, which kept the game tied going into the bottom of the eighth.
In the bottom half, Trent Nash started off on second base. After two outs and two intentional walks, Elijah MacNamee came to the plate with the bases loaded and the winning run 90 feet from home. MacNamee won the game on a base hit into the right-center field gap.
In game two, MacNamee opened the scoring with an RBI sacrifice fly to center that scored Miles Gordon, who had doubled to leadoff the inning, in the bottom of the first.
Facing Otters’ starter Tyler Vail, the Crushers tied the game in the top of the third with a sacrifice fly of their own.
The Otters quickly regained the lead in the bottom half, when Andy DeJesus doubled home Gordon from third.
The Otters’ lead held until the fifth, when the Crushers scored three runs and took a 4-2 lead. Tyler Vail would remain in the ballgame, however, and bounced back to keep the Crushers to within two through his seven innings on the mound.
Evansville found a way to tie things up in the bottom of the seventh, which John Schultz led off with a double to left. Following a J.R. Davis walk and a Dakota Phillips base hit to load the bases, the Otters cut the deficit in half when Trent Nash, a pinch runner, scored on fielder’s choice.
Then, Otters skipper Andy McCauley ordered up a safety squeeze from Josh Henderson, who laid down a perfect bunt to the right of the mound and allowed Davis to score from third and tie the game.
Evansville closer Logan Sawyer came on in the eighth, with the international tie-breaker rule in play. Dylan Jones, the extra runner, advanced to third on a fielding error that allowed Shawon Dunston, Jr. to reach first safely. Following a stolen base, Sawyer proceeded to strand both runners in scoring position by striking out the next three batters 1-2-3.
Evansville was unable to score in the bottom of the eighth, so the Otters would have their first ever Home Run Derby finale to determine a winner in game two.
After Lake Erie’s Dunston Jr. failed to hit a homer, Riley Krane began the Otters’ turn at the derby with two home runs to right field. Lake Erie’s Trevor Achenbach would tie it at two home runs, and Dakota Phillips broke the tie with two home runs of his own. Lake Erie’s final batter, Brody Wofford, failed to hit a home run, concluding the shootout-style finish. Otters hitting coach Bobby Segal threw to Krane and Phillips.
The Evansville Otters will begin a seven-game road trip with a four-game series in Schaumburg, Illinois, taking on the 3-4 Boomers on Friday. First pitch will be at 6:30 p.m.
Road game coverage can be found on the Evansville Otters’ Youtube channel, with Ryan Brown delivering the play-by-play.
The Evansville Otters are the 2006 and 2016 Frontier League champions. Fans will enjoy new sights, sounds and smells in coming back to the ballpark this year.
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.