PREVIEW: Otters host division rival Southern Illinois Friday - Tri-State News, Weather & Sports

PREVIEW: Otters host division rival Southern Illinois Friday

(Source: Evansville Otters) (Source: Evansville Otters)

The Evansville Otters begin a weekend series Friday at Bosse Field against the rival Southern Illinois Miners with first pitch scheduled for 6:35 p.m.

Friday is St. Vincent Night and the first 500 kids 12 and under will receive a bicycle helmet and St. Vincent will also deliver the ceremonial first pitch ball from a helicopter before the game.

Plus, the first 811 fans through the gates will get free popcorn courtesy of Indiana 811. Fans are also encouraged to stay in their seats after the game to enjoy a spectacular postgame fireworks show.

Evansville (40-34) enters the series opener against Southern Illinois after getting swept by Florence. The Otters have also lost six in a row at Bosse Field.

During the recent home skid, the Otters are averaging 2.3 runs per game and have been limited to one home run over six games. Evansville still leads the league with 88 home runs in 2017.

Evansville’s loss to Florence on Thursday capped the third time the Otters have been swept this season. Offensively, the Otters will look to get going after being held scoreless for the last 20 innings.

Dane Phillips continues to shine for the Otters, going 8 for 12 with three doubles and two RBIs in the series against Florence. Phillips has reached base in 24 consecutive games.

Jeff Gardner is approaching an Otters’ milestone, sitting three home runs shy of the single-season record set by Shayne Houck in 2014.

The Otters have split the season series 3-3 against Southern Illinois so far this season. The Miners took the first series back on Opening Weekend in Marion, Ill., which featured a no-hitter by Otters pitcher Shane Weedman in Evansville’s only win of the series. The Otters won the second series back on June 24-25 at Bosse Field, taking two of three.

Evansville has not yet announced a probable starter for Friday’s series opener.

Offensively, Ryan Lashley leads the Miners with 11 home runs and 49 RBIs. Lashley is one of three Miners with 12 doubles this season along with Craig Massey and Nolan Earley.

Southern Illinois (31-44) is fifth in the West Division and the Miners will send right-hander Corey Sessions to the mound on Friday. Sessions has switched between the rotation and the bullpen for the Miners throughout the season. Friday will be his 10th start of the year.

Sessions’ last start was on Aug. 6 at Florence, taking a no-decision despite giving up only one unearned run off four hits in five innings of work.

Courtesy: EVV. Otters Media Relations

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