EVANSVILLE, IN (WFIE) - After the Evansville Otters took a 1-0 lead in the sixth inning, the Normal Cornbelters answered with a five-run seventh to win the series opener 7-5 in front of 1,703 at Bosse Field Tuesday.
In a scoreless game, it was Jeff Gardner who gave Evansville a 1-0 lead with a solo home run, but things quickly fell apart in the next inning for the Otters.
With two runners on and two outs, Evansville opted to intentionally walk Santiago Chirino and bring in Connor Little to relieve starter Luc Rennie.
Little hit Justin Fletcher with the bases loaded to tie the game at 1-1. The next batter, Nolan Meadows, followed with a grand slam to give Normal the lead for good at 5-1.
In the ninth, Yeixon Ruiz and Fletcher each had RBI singles to extend the Normal advantage to 7-1.
Evansville scored four times in the bottom half of the inning as Dane Phillips' RBI single made it 7-2 before Gardner hit his second homer of the night, a three-run shot to make the deficit 7-5.
With two homers for the game, Gardner is now one home run shy of tying Shayne Houck's single season homer record of 23, set back in 2014.
Tuesday's contest featured a pitcher's duel between Normal's Charlie Gillies and Rennie.
Rennie finished the night going 6 2/3 innings, allowing three unearned runs off five hits and three walks. He also struck out three batters.
Gillies ended his evening giving up an earned run in seven innings off four hits and five walks. Gillies struck out five batters.
The Otters and Cornbelters continue the series from Bosse Field on Wednesday with first pitch scheduled for 6:35 p.m.
On Wednesday, it's Senior Citizen Night at Bosse Field. Senior citizens will receive a special ticket promotion for the game and local businesses who cater to senior citizens will be on hand to pass out information on the concourse.
The game also includes a 1940s and 1980s poster giveaway for early arriving fans in attendance. The poster is part of a season-long series of poster giveaways that highlight the history of Bosse Field.