Otters’ late rally leads to 50th win


Trailing 4-2 heading into the eighth inning Tuesday, the Evansville Otters rallied with four unanswered runs in the last two innings to earn a 6-4 win against the Southern Illinois Miners, leading to the Otters’ 50th win of the season.

With the win, the Otters moved a half game ahead of the Florence Freedom, who were idle Tuesday, in the Frontier League West Division standings.

In the series opener, the Miners struck first with a run in the bottom of the first inning when Taylor Sparks hit an RBI double to score Jamey Smart, who had reached on an error.

Otters starter Tyler Beardsley pitched two scoreless innings following that, seeing his offensive support tie the game at one in the fourth inning.

After Ryan Long walked and then advanced to third base on a single by Elijah MacNamee, first baseman Dakota Phillips delivered with the first of his three hits and his two RBIs on the night.

The Otters jumped ahead 2-1 in the top of the sixth on Long’s 14th home run of the season and added a league-leading 74th RBI.

Beardsley had done his part on the mound to keep the Otters in the game, retiring 11 straight batters until Yeltsin Gudino broke up the streak with a one-out single in the bottom of the sixth.

Then the Miners responded with two runs to retake the lead. With runners on first and second, Kyle Davis doubled to score Gudino, but then the Otters’ second error of the night allowed Smart to score from first base.

Southern Illinois starter Chase Cunningham would exit the game after the top of the seventh, allowing only two runs on seven hits while tossing five strikeouts. He would end up with a no-decision.

In the bottom of the seventh, the Miners received a sac fly by Jarrod Watkins to double the Otters’ run total with a 4-2 advantage.

Beardsley also finished his night on the bump after seven innings, surrendering four runs – three earned – with no walks and seven strikeouts. He also took a no-decision.

The Otters then made their late statement in the last two innings.

Evansville brought the game back within one in the top of the eighth when Taylor Lane came through with a ground rule double to score Long.

Otters reliever Drew Beyer conquered his task of keeping the Otters within one run by pitching a scoreless eighth inning.

Down 4-3 to begin the ninth, the top three batters in the Otters’ lineup in David Cronin, Keith Grieshaber, and Long all walked to load the bases with no outs.

After a pitching change by the Miners, MacNamee also walked to score Cronin, tie the game at four, and advance the other runners to keep the bases loaded.

The next batter was Phillips, who tallied his second RBI on a sac fly to score Grieshaber as the go-ahead run and giving the Otters a 5-4 lead.

Then Lane recorded his second RBI on a single that scored Long and provided the Otters a little breathing room with a 6-4 lead going to the bottom of the ninth.

Taylor Wright closed out the game in the bottom of the ninth to seal the win for the Otters, picking up his 14th save of the season.

Evansville’s Beyer was credited with the win, and Southern Illinois’ Heath Renz was dealt the loss after blowing the save opportunity in the ninth.

In five plate appearances, Long was 1-2 with a home run, three walks, and four runs scored.

MacNamee, Phillips, and Lane all had multi-hit games, each earning at least one RBI.

MacNamee went 3-4 with three singles and an RBI walk, Phillips was 3-4 with two singles, a double, and two RBIs, and Lane followed with a single, double, and two RBIs.

Tuesday was the Otters’ first win of the season when trailing after eight innings.