RECAP | Otters' comeback falls short in series opener at Lake Erie
AVON, Ohio - The Evansville Otters had multiple comeback attempts Friday night, battling until the end, but came up a run shy of the Lake Erie Crushers, 8-7.
In his return to the starting lineup Friday, Zach Biermann got the Otters on the scoreboard early, hitting a solo home run in the first inning. He now has 13 home runs on the season.
Unfortunately, for the Otters, the host team answered quickly in the bottom half of the next inning. Lake Erie put a trio of runs on the board in the second inning, kicking off with an RBI double from Sean Cheely.
The next run scored on a catcher's obstruction call at home plate after a rocket throw from Zach Biermann in left field had the runner caught.
The Crushers' third run came via another RBI double, this one from Kenen Irizarry.
Lake Erie added two to their lead in the fourth as Jackson Valera brought in two.
Evansville managed some offense in the fifth, as Jeffrey Baez scored a pair of runs on a double.
Lake Erie made their advantage 6-3 by adding another run in the fifth, scoring on a passed ball.
The Otters put another offensive push together in the seventh, the first run scoring on a George Callil solo home run, his second of the year. A second run came home on a fielder's choice ball hit by Baez.
Again, the Otters' offensive work was countered by Lake Erie, when Jake Gitter led off the bottom of the seventh with a solo home run.
Finally, Evansville's comeback attempt came through in the eighth. The inning began with a solo home run from Dakota Phillips, his ninth of the 2022 season. The game-tying run scored later in the inning on an RBI single from Biermann.
In the bottom half of the eighth, Jake Polancic had the Crushers down to their last strike of the inning when Irizarry hit a go-ahead RBI triple.
Evansville would manage a pair of baserunners in the ninth but left both stranded.
The loss was credited to Jake Polancic in relief, his third of the season. Meanwhile, Trevor Kuncl earned his first win of the season in relief for Lake Erie.
The loss drops Evansville to 1-3 on the road trip and 22-14 on the season.
The Otters extended their lead atop the Frontier League in home runs to 60, with three on Friday night.
Evansville continues the series Saturday night at Lake Erie to face the Crushers at 5:05 p.m.CT. Coverage on the Evansville Otters YouTube page starts at 4:50 p.m.CT.
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.