The Evansville Otters concluded a three-game series at Joliet Thursday, falling by a final score of 7-2 to the Slammers from Joliet Route 66 Stadium.
Evansville started the game offensively with an opportunity to strike first with the bases loaded in the top of the first inning, but Joliet starter Scot Hoffman pitched his way out of the jam.
The Slammers’ offense capitalized in the bottom of the first with an RBI single by Danny Zardon and a two-out two-run double from Ridge Hoopii-Haslam, providing Joliet with an early 3-0 lead.
Otters’ right-handed pitcher Sean Johnson entered the game in place of starter Nathan Foriest to begin the bottom of the second.
Following back-to-back singles to put runners at first and third for Joliet, the Slammers scored their fourth run of the game off a balk by Johnson in the second inning.
Joliet extended their lead to five on a solo home run by Justin Garcia in the bottom of the fourth.
The Otters attempted to battle back with a two-run inning in the top of the seventh.
Zach Welz plated Mike Rizzitello with a sac fly before Toby Thomas ripped an RBI double down the left field line to score the second run, bringing the Otters back to a 5-2 deficit.
In the bottom of the seventh, Joliet countered with two runs of their own off a sac fly and an RBI infield single from R.J. Thompson, restoring Joliet’s five-run lead by a score of 7-2.
Joliet’s bullpen tossed a scoreless eighth and ninth innings to seal the 7-2 win and salvage one game against the Otters.
Foriest was handed the loss after working just one inning, allowing three runs-three earned-walking four batters and giving up two hits in the start for Evansville.
Hoffman picked up the win after tossing five scoreless innings in the start for Joliet. Hoffman struck out four while walking four and allowing four hits.
The Otters return to Bosse Field Friday to open a three-game weekend series against the Normal Cornbelters.
Sunday’s game is a family fun day with the family package deal available for $40 and will feature the Old National Bank Attendance Awards ceremony.
First pitch Friday and Saturday are scheduled for 6:35 p.m. with Sunday’s game starting at 2:05 p.m.
Series coverage will be available on WUEV 91.5 FM and the Kruckemeyer and Cohn Otters Digital Network. Sam Jellinek (play-by-play) and Bill McKeon (analyst) will have the call.