Otters win first road series with huge fifth inning


TROY, N.Y. – The Evansville Otters came through in the rubber match with a 15-4 win against the Tri-City ValleyCats at Joseph L. Bruno Stadium on Thursday night.

It was the first road series win of the year for the Otters (11-19), and their second series victory in a row.

The bats combined for 21 hits against the ValleyCats (15-15) pitching staff, highlighted by an 11-run fifth inning with 15 men coming to the plate. Seven batters had multi-hit games and everyone in the starting nine came away with at least one hit. Justin Felix reached base in all six of his plate appearances, garnering a four-hit day alongside Mason White.

In the first inning, White reached on a single and then moved 180 feet to third on a failed pick-off attempt. He scored on a wild pitch to put the Otters up 1-0.

Tri-City answered in the bottom of the inning with a fielder’s choice RBI, before Evansville took the eventual deciding lead in the fourth.

Leading the frame off, Felix notched his first home run of the year with a blast to left-center field, making it a 2-1 score. The second run of the inning came on an RBI-base hit from Pavin Parks.

Adding another run to the scoreboard, the ValleyCats hit a home run in the bottom of the inning to trim the deficit to one, but the floodgates opened the next inning.

In the fifth, the Otters had the first seven men reach base via hits, scoring as many runs when David Mendham launched a two-run blast to right for his third home run of the year.

The Otters would go on to score three more in the inning, setting a new season high to best their previous marker of eight in a single frame. Mike Peabody notched two-RBI doubles in the fifth and White tallied a pair of RBI singles.

Later, the final run for the Otters came in the sixth inning off an RBI fielder’s choice from Jomar Reyes, scoring Mendham who led off with a double. The score was 15-2.

Throughout the rest of the game, the ValleyCats tacked on two more runs, but the contest was already put to bed.

Right-hander Zach Smith (2-4) earned his second win in a row after stringing together back-to-back quality starts.

He went seven full innings, allowing a trio of runs on seven hits with three strikeouts and one walk. His command allowed him to be efficient as it was the first time since opening night that Smith surrendered less than three walks in a game.

Out of the bullpen in the final inning, Ryan Wiltse tossed a one-two-three frame during his professional debut.

Evansville will continue their east-coast road trip to New Jersey, with a battle against the Sussex County Miners tomorrow. The series-opening first pitch is scheduled for 6:05 p.m. CT. Coverage is available on the Otters Digital Network and FloBaseball.