Otters loss to Freedom highlighted by controversial eighth inning

Otters loss to Freedom highlighted by controversial eighth inning

FLORENCE, Ky. (WFIE) -The Evansville Otters received two-RBI nights from outfielders Hunter Cullen and Jack Meggs Saturday, but a 6-4 loss for the Otters to the Florence Freedom was highlighted by a controversial eighth inning.

The Otters jumped to a 1-0 lead in the top of the second inning on an RBI single from Jack Meggs that scored Dakota Phillips.

The Otters had chances to extend their lead but could not convert, leaving the bases loaded in the third and runners on the corners in the top of the fourth.

In the bottom of the fourth, the Otters committed fielding miscues, including an error by Ryan Long, that helped the Florence Freedom take a 4-1 lead.

Florence’s Brandon Pugh, who was 0-13 going into his fourth inning at-bat, smacked a double down the left field line, scoring two runs on his first hit of the season.

The Otters responded in the fifth with an RBI double from Cullen, scoring Long to make the score 4-2.

Meggs followed with his second RBI of the day, when he singled to right field, scoring Phillips in the process, making it a one-run game.

After a scoreless sixth, Hunter Cullen hit his second home run of the series over the right field wall to tie the game at four.

In the bottom of the eighth, Florence sent eight men to the plate, scoring two runs on an RBI single by Isaac Bernard, to give the Freedom a 6-4 lead.

However, the eighth inning did not pass by without controversy over Bernard’s hit.

Video replay was shown multiple times on the videoboard at UC Health Stadium as there were questions of whether Bernard’s hit cleared the right field fence.

The ball bounced back into field of play quickly as the ball ricocheted off the yellow line at the top of the wall in right field, allowing Meggs to throw the “live ball” back in play.

Other calls in the eighth were questioned, including a balk call on Otters pitcher Brandon Pressley, leading to Otters manager Andy McCauley getting ejected from the game.

Florence’s Johnathon Tripp came in the ninth to earn a save as he retired Long, Phillips, and Rob Calabrese.

The rubber match of the series will be Sunday at 4:35 p.m. CT as Patrick McGuff will take the mound for the Otters, coming off an eight-inning, eleven-strikeout performance against Washington last Tuesday.

Florence will throw with Mike Castellani, who is 2-0 this season with a 2.28 ERA.

The series finale can be heard on the radio at 91.5 FM WUEV or evansvilleotters.com with Dave Nguyen on the call.

The Otters are celebrating their 25th anniversary season in 2019.

Evansville will return home on Tuesday, June 11 against the Windy City Thunderbolts for a three-game series, featuring $2 Tuesday, Splash Day, and Working Distributors Bud Light Thirsty Thursday.

Courtesy: Evansville Otters

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