RECAP: Otters strike early, get 11 strikeouts by Holdgrafer in win
MARION, Ill. – The Evansville Otters captured a 6-3 win and a series win on the road Thursday against the Southern Illinois Miners behind early scoring and 11 strikeouts by starting pitcher Tim Holdgrafer.
The Otters jumped ahead early 1-0 in the top of the first inning Thursday at Rent One Park, as Josh Allen scored on a sac fly from Jeffrey Baez.
Evansville then pushed their lead to 3-0 with Gary Mattis at the plate. First, a wild pitch by Southern Illinois’ starting pitcher, Michael Austin, allowed Andrew Penner to score and Andy DeJesus to advance to third base. Mattis then proceeded to double to score DeJesus and record an RBI.
On the mound, the right-handed pitcher Holdgrafer struck out six Miners in the first three innings.
The Miners did tally one run in the bottom of the third inning on an RBI single by Jamey Smart to make the score 3-1 Otters.
The Otters mounted 6-1 advantage by adding three runs in the top of the fourth.
Elijah MacNamee, celebrating his birthday Thursday, scored Dakota Phillips with an RBI triple after Phillips led off the inning with a single. Penner followed with an RBI single to drive home MacNamee, and two batters later, Penner scored on the second RBI double of the night for Mattis.
Holdgrafer returned to the mound in the bottom of the fourth by striking out the side in order, increasing his strikeout total to nine.
Southern Illinois scored a run in the bottom of the fifth and one in the bottom of the sixth, which came off a solo home run by Smart.
After the solo home run, Holdgrafer struck out the next two Miners to collect his 10th and 11th strikeouts of the evening. The Otters led 6-3 after six.
Scoring offenses were held in check the rest of the way.
Otters relief pitcher Samson Abernathy came on to pitch the seventh and eighth innings scoreless, while closer Logan Sawyer closed out the ninth in order with two strikeouts for his Frontier League-leading 22nd save of the season.
Evansville’s Holdgrafer picked up the win, going a strong six innings with the 11 punchouts and the three runs. Austin took the loss for Southern Illinois, finishing with six runs allowed off eight hits and six strikeouts in four innings.
For Evansville, eight of the nine batters in the lineup had a hit, as Mattis had the two doubles and two RBIs from the leadoff spot.
Following Thursday’s games, the Otters are ahead of the Florence Y’alls by 1.5 games and 4.5 games ahead of the Southern Illinois Miners in the Frontier League West Division standings.
The Otters will next travel to Schaumburg, Ill. for a four-game series during the Labor Day weekend against the Schaumburg Boomers, stretching from Friday through Monday.
First pitch Friday for the opener in the series is 6:30 p.m. from Winstrust Field in Schaumburg, Ill.
Evansville Otters broadcast coverage Friday can be found on the Evansville Otters Youtube channel.
The Evansville Otters are the 2006 and 2016 Frontier League champions.
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.
For more information, visit evansvilleotters.com or call (812) 435-8686.