RECAP | Otters battle back at Sussex County, lose heartbreaker in ninth
AUGUSTA, N.J. - After falling behind in an early 5-0 hole to the Sussex County Miners Friday, the Evansville Otters chipped away to take the lead halfway through the game before losing in heartbreaking fashion in the bottom of the ninth inning 7-6.
The start of the game was not ideal for the Otters coming out of the Frontier League’s All-Star Break, giving up five runs in the bottom of the first inning to the Miners. Three of the five runs scored on bases-loaded walks off Evansville starter Brice Stuteville.
However, Evansville quickly responded in the next inning, much like they have throughout the season.
The Otters chipped away at the 5-0 deficit with two runs in the top of the second. Jeffrey Baez scored a run on a ball put in play by George Callil, who reached on an error. Steven Sensley later scored on an RBI single by Justin Felix.
Following scoreless innings in the bottom of the second through the fourth by Stuteville, Evansville jumped ahead 6-5 in the top of the fifth, putting up a four-spot.
The inning was highlighted by an RBI triple from Zach Biermann and an RBI single by Sensley. Baez also scored on a bases-loaded walk to Felix, while Sensley later scored on a wild pitch.
With a 6-5 lead, Stuteville pitched through six innings in the start for the Otters, finding his rhythm after the first frame. After a tough first inning, Stuteville struck out five batters in his remaining five innings of work and allowed only two walks and just one hit the rest of the outing.
Overall, Stuteville finished with six strikeouts, seven walks and five runs allowed in six innings. He had a no-decision.
The Miners’ starter Vin Mazzaro also took a no-decision, giving up six runs and seven hits in 4.1 innings with five strikeouts.
The Otters’ 6-5 advantage held until the bottom of the seventh inning when Webb Little singled in a run to tie the game for the Miners.
Sussex County went on to a walk-off win in the bottom of the ninth with an RBI single by David Maberry with the bases loaded.
Reliever Augie Gallardo was handed the loss for Evansville, his third of the season. John Baker got the win, his sixth, after going 1.2 innings.
Evansville had three players have multi-hit games in Baez, Sensley and Felix. Felix also finished with two RBIs.
The series continues Saturday at 5:05 p.m. CT in the middle game of the three-game set. Broadcast coverage can be found on the 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.