EVANSVILLE, Ind. - The Evansville Otters play their 15th and final unique team in 2022 on Friday night, welcoming the Tri-City Valley Cats to town.
Tri-City enters the series fresh off a series sweep against Gateway and a series win at Joliet.
The ValleyCats have surged to the top of the home run-hitting charts, with a league-high 97. They have home runs in seven straight games, with four or more home runs in three of those games.
To back up the power hitting, Tri-City also has the fewest strikeouts in the league (458). This mix of power and discipline has placed Tri-City in a strong position for a second-half push towards a playoff spot.
Offensively, the ValleyCats are led by Brantly Bell, who is among the league leaders in batting average (.360) and leads the league in hits (89).
Overall, Tri-City is not an elite pitching team - with most of the rotation sitting well above the 4.00 ERA line. But reliever Trey Cochran-Gill has been a standout on the staff. His 2.73 ERA is exceptional - given that he has appeared in 29 games and clocked 33 innings.
As for the Otters, the last few weeks have not been too favorable. With losses in four of their last five series, Evansville is looking for a jumpstart in both offensive production and (in turn) wins.
For most of the season, home runs were the bread and butter of this club, leading the league into early July. In the last few weeks, however, that power has disappeared. From July 1st to 7th, the Otters hit 15 home runs. In the 22 days since then, they have hit two.
Despite the power struggling recently, the starting pitching has continued to impress - especially the work of Austin Gossmann and Brett Adcock.
Gossmann has risen to third best in the Frontier League in ERA, with a 2.49 across 68.2 innings this year. Adcock is a few innings away from being added to the league leader categories, but his 2.59 ERA would have him close to the top if eligible.
Individually, Evansville continues to be led by Zach Biermann offensively, with a .284 batting average and a team-high 15 home runs. Dakota Phillips remains the only Otter above a .300 average but is still currently sidelined with a hand injury.
This weekend's projected pitching matchups are:
RHP Austin Faith vs. LHP Brett Adcock
RHP Jose Cruz vs. RHP Austin Gossmann
RHP Olbis Parra vs. RHP Ryan O'Reilly
The weekend is filled with exciting promotions:
Friday - 6:35 p.m. first pitch (5:30 p.m. gates open) - Gil Hodges Night - mini bust giveaway (Harris Real Estate, Randy's Americana Cafe)
Saturday - 6:35 p.m. first pitch (5:30 p.m. gates open) - Christmas in July (Old National Bank, Santa Clothes Club)
Sunday - 5:05 p.m. first pitch (4:00 p.m. gates open) - Dog Days of Summer
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.