The Normal CornBelters tied up the series against the Evansville Otters on Saturday night in a 6-2 victory at Historic Bosse Field.
Both teams scored a run in the first inning and Normal regained a lead in the second inning with another pair of runs against Evansville starter Jeremy Thorne. Infielder Daniel Cox led off with a home run and designated hitter Brandon Newton added an RBI single for the 3-1 lead.
The Otters rallied within a run on a sacrifice fly from infielder Joe Spiers in the third, but that would be as close as Evansville would get the rest of the night.
Ahead 3-2, outfielder Alvaro Ramirez doubled home another run in the fourth as Normal loaded up the bases. Reliever Kyle Barry then entered for the Otters and recorded an inning-ending double play without allowing any more runs.
Evansville, like Normal, then loaded up the bases in the bottom of the inning but CornBelters starter Ryan Sheldon got an infield fly rule pop-up from outfielder Troy Frazier and a strikeout of shortstop Greg Fontenot to maintain the 4-2 advantage.
Normal scored another run in the seventh inning and Evansville nearly rallied back in the bottom half. Catcher Phil Britton hit a ground ball back to reliever Ben Paxton, who throw to second for an out but the relay to first was offline. Initially ruled safe, the umpires then consulted each other and called Britton out. Evansville catcher Phil Britton and manager Andy McCauley were both ejected following the play.
Brandon Newton of the CornBelters added a solo home run in the ninth inning as Normal would go on to win the game 6-2.
The CornBelters improve to 26-24 this season as the Evansville Otters fall to 15-35.
Ryan Sheldon (6-4) is the winning pitcher after giving up two runs in six innings pitched. Jeremy Thorne (2-7) receives the loss, allowing four runs (three earned) in 3 1/3 innings. Closer Marshall Schuler (third save) recorded the final four outs in the victory.
The Otters and CornBelters meet again on Sunday afternoon in the series finale at Historic Bosse Field. It is Pets Day at the Park and all fans are encouraged to bring their favorite friends to the game along with them. There will be a dog catching the first pitch and other promotions for the pets as well. Righthy Kyle Eastham (0-2, 5.06 Earned Run Average) will start for Evansville as he will be opposed by another right-hander in Matthew Mossey (0-0, 0.00 ERA).
For more information on America's game and Evansville's team, please visit the Otters' official website at http://www.evansvilleotters.com . Fans can also call the team's front office at (812) 435-8686 about ticket information and any upcoming promotions.