Chris Sweeney came into the game as the Evansville Otters (43-20) leader in home runs on the season with ten. He made sure he left the series against the Gateway Grizzlies (23-39) atop of the Otters home run leaderboard, launching two home runs tonight, including a grand slam as the Otters took the series from the Grizzlies with a 9-3 win.
John Schultz got the Otters off and running in the first inning with a single to right, which was quickly followed by a single by Josh Allen and a walk by Dane Phillips to load the bases for Sweeney. Sweeney, who had hit two home runs on the series on Tuesday night, took the first pitch of his at bat and sent it high over the wall in left for the Otters second grand slam in the series and a 4-0 lead.
Brett Marshall, making his first appearance for the Otters this summer, kept the Grizzlies off of the board through the first three frames, but ran into trouble in the fourth inning, allowing a two-out two-run double to cut the Otters lead in half at 4-2.
However, Sweeney made sure to give him a little more breathing room in the top of the fifth inning. After Phillips was retired for the first out of the inning, Sweeney found himself in a 1-2 hole and after fouling off a 1-2 pitch, waited on a curveball and scorched one to deep over the right-center field wall for his second home run of the night and fourth of the series, pushing the Otter ahead 5-2.
The Otters continued to pour on the runs in the seventh inning. Schultz took the first pitch of the inning and blasted one out to right for his tenth home run of the season, becoming the only other Otter besides Sweeney to hit double-digit home runs. Kurt Wertz Jr. plated a run later in the inning with a bases loaded walk and JD Dorgan made it a 9-2 advantage with s two-run two-out single to center.
Connor Little pitched the seventh and eighth innings for the Otters, tallying four strikeouts and allowing a lone unearned run before handing the ball over to Edgar Lopez who retired the side in order in the ninth, fanning two Grizzlies, including the final batter of the game.
Sweeney ended the night 3-for-5 with two home runs, five runs driven in and three runs cored while John Schultz was 3-for-5 as well with an RBI and two runs scored. Josh Allen had a multi-hit night and scored a pair while swiping a bag and JD Dorgan finished 2-for-4 with the two RBI. The Otters scored 32 runs in the three game series and launched eleven home runs, four by Chris Sweeney, three by Dane Phillips and two by Josh Allen.
The Otters maintain their two-game lead over the Southern Illinois Miners (41-22) who they play tomorrow night in Marion, IL. The game tomorrow starts a three game set between the two teams and first pitch is scheduled for 7:05 pm CDT with the pregame show featuring Jake Donnelly starting at 6:45 pm CDT. Trevor Walch (8-3, 1.30) will be on the mound for the Otters while the Miners will combat him with Adam Lopez, who is perfect on the season at 8-0 with a 1.94 ERA.
The Otters will not be back in Evansville, IN until next Wednesday when they will start a three game series against the Frontier Greys with a doubleheader on Wednesday. That game will be Princess Night at Bosse Field with the first pitch of Game One scheduled for 5:35 and the gates opening at 5 pm CDT. Fans can purchase tickets by calling the team’s front office at 812.435.8686 or online at EvansvilleOtters.com. For all of the latest information on the Otters, log on to EvansvilleOtters.com or follow the team’s twitter account @EvilleOtters.