Long’s Clutch RBI Gives Otters Series Winters

The Evansville Otters and the Lake Erie Crushers matched each other on the mound Wednesday night, keeping the game scoreless until Ryan Long delivered a two-out RBI double in the bottom of the eighth inning to nudge the Otters to a 1-0 win over the Crushers.

Austin Nicely was on the bump for the Otters, who threw a five-hit shutout in his last start, which was also against the Crushers in Avon, Ohio.

Nicely had some trouble in the top of the third as the Crushers had the bases loaded with two outs, but Nicely got out of the inning unscathed as a deep fly ball hit to left field by Dale Burdick was caught at the wall by Keith Grieshaber.

The left-hander exited the game after six innings, recording six strikeouts, and surrendering only five hits and two walks. Nicely would earn a no-decision.

Making his first start in his professional career, Sam Curtis took the mound after signing with the Crushers on Wednesday.

The only trouble Curtis faced was in the bottom of the third inning when the Otters had runners on the corners, but Curtis got Long to pop out to end the threat.

Curtis would pitch into the sixth, recording two outs and walking Long. He was pulled for Kent Hasler in the sixth. Hasler would force Jack Meggs to ground out to end the inning.

Curtis would exit with 5.2 innings pitched, surrendering only three hits and three walks, while tossing five strikeouts. He would also earn a no-decision.

Otters reliever Drew Beyer would pitch a scoreless seventh and eighth innings, posting four strikeouts.

With two outs in the bottom of the eighth, Keith Grieshaber worked a walk against Hasler.

Grieshaber then took off for second and Long swung away on the hit and run, doubling to left centerfield and scoring Grieshaber to give the Otters 1-0 lead. For Long, it was his Frontier League-leading 59th RBI.

After Zach Racusin led off the top of the ninth with a walk, Otters closer Taylor Wright would retire the next three batters he faced, including a lineout by Bryan DeLaRosa that was snagged out of the air by J.J. Gould to end the game.

Drew Beyer earned the win, improving his record to 1-2. Kent Hasler was given the loss, dropping his record to 5-4.

Wright would earn his 11th save of the season.

Otters will go for the series sweep in game three on Thursday at 6:35 p.m.