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Otters stave off late rallies from Boomers

Evansville now has 2 1/2 game lead in West Division
Evansville Otters to host preseason tryouts
Evansville Otters to host preseason tryouts(Evansville Otters)
Published: Sep. 5, 2021 at 1:33 AM CDT
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EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) - The Evansville Otters picked up their fourth straight win Saturday in a 7-4 victory on the road at the Schaumburg Boomers.

With the win, the Otters have taken the first two games of the series, moved to 20 games above .500, and by the end of the night, increased their lead in the Frontier League West Division.

However, the win didn’t come easy, as the Otters had to stave off several late rallying attempts by the Boomers Saturday.

With Evansville starter Polo Portela on the mound, Schaumburg scored first in the bottom of the first on an RBI single by Braxton Davidson.

Trailing 1-0, the Otters’ offense got rolling the second time through the lineup.

Following leadoff hits by Andrew Penner and Gary Mattis, Jeffrey Baez put the Otters ahead 2-1 on a single that scored Penner and Mattis.

Two batters later, Elijah MacNamee singled to score Baez to make the score 3-1 Evansville.

In the fourth, Mattis tripled home Penner to add to the Otters’ lead, 4-1.

Each team scored one run in the fifth, as Evansville had a sac fly and Schaumburg had a solo home run by Chase Dawson. The score was then 5-2 Evansville.

The bullpens became a factor in the seventh inning.

With two runners on and representing the tying run at the plate, Clint Hardy recorded an RBI single off Otters reliever Samson Abernathy brought Schaumburg within two, 5-3.

Abernathy stranded two runners to get out of the first rallying attempt by the Boomers.

The Otters added a pair of insurance runs in the top of the eighth when Baez delivered again with a big hit, this time a double to score Penner and Mattis again. Otters led 7-3.

With the bases loaded and one out in the bottom of the eighth, Evansville’s Augie Gallardo got two Boomers representing the tying run out via a strikeout and a flyout to strand the bases loaded and avert another rallying try by Schaumburg.

Gallardo returned to the mound to start the bottom of the ninth, but worked himself into a bases-loaded jam again, leading Evansville to call on Logan Sawyer from the bullpen.

Sawyer toed the rubber with Boomers at every base, nobody out, and with the tying run at the plate again. He struck out the first batter he faced in Angelo Gumbs.

The next batter was Brett Milazzo, who hit into a fielder’s choice to score a run, making it 7-4 Evansville. However, there were then two outs after the force out at second.

Nick Oddo was the last chance for Schaumburg to potentially tie or extend the game, but the Otters’ closer got a ground ball back to himself and on to first for the final out of the game.

Sawyer put an end to Schaumburg’s efforts to rally and picked up his 23rd save of the season.

Evansville starter Portela collected his 10th win of the season, striking out six and allowing just two runs in six innings. Schaumburg starting pitcher Andrew Dean took the loss, giving up five runs in five innings.

Offensively, Mattis and Penner each had a two-hit game. J.R. Davis went 4 for 4 at the plate, and Baez had three hits and four RBIs.

Schaumburg left 14 runners on base Saturday compared to Evansville’s nine.

Following Saturday’s games, the Otters’ West Division lead is now 2.5 games after the Florence Y’alls lost to the Joliet Slammers. Southern Illinois is five games back with their game Saturday being postponed.

The Otters and Boomers will match up again Sunday at 6 p.m. for game three of four this weekend from Wintrust Field in Schaumburg, Ill.

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