The Gateway Grizzlies mounted an eight-run comeback, but fell to the Evansville Otters 16-14 Tuesday night in a back-and-forth battle at GCS Ballpark.
The Grizzlies (22-38) had an answer for every Evansville rally until the 13th inning. That included an eight-run 11th inning to tie things up at 14-14. The Otters (42-19) improved their league-best record with the win.
Gateway came back from multiple deficits, including 5-1, 6-5 and finally 14-6 before falling just short. Down to their final strike in the 9th inning and trailing 6-5, Blake Brown blasted his second home run of the game to tie it 6-6 and sent it to extras.
Dane Phillips put the Otters ahead 7-6 with a home run to lead off the 10th inning, but Gateway had another answer. Two walks and a single put Cody Livesay up with the bases loaded. He delivered with one of his four hits to tie the game at 7-7 and keep the bases loaded with one out. However, the threat ended when Madison Beaird bounced into an inning-ending double play.
Things unraveled for the Gateway bullpen in the 11th inning. The Otters scored eight times on eight hits including a one-out grand slam from Josh Allen to put Evansville ahead 11-6. Evansville would then homer two more times in the inning and add an RBI single to head into the bottom of the 11th leading 14-6.
The Grizzlies then scored eight times on three hits to pull off the miraculous comeback. Beaird advanced to second base to start the inning when International Tiebreaker rule came into effect. Two walks and a hit by pitch plated him with one out to cut the deficit in half 14-7.
Grant Buckner then flew out to left field, before Gateway staged a seven-run rally with two outs. Antonio Sandifer walked in a run and Seth Heck and Livesay followed with back-to-back singles to put Gateway within three runs at 14-11.
The Grizzlies were once again down to their final strike when Beaird delivered the final dagger. He launched a 1-2 pitch over the fence to plate Heck and Livesay to tie the game at 14-14 and complete the comeback.
Gateway couldn’t capitalize with the bases loaded and one out in the 12th inning and allowed two runs in the 13th inning to fall in the heartbreaker. Kurt Wertz Jr.’s two-out RBI double was the eventual difference.
Lance Phillips (1-0) earned the victory despite allowing four earned runs in 2.2 innings of work. Tyler Thompson (2-5) picked up the loss after allowing the final two runs to score.
Livesay and Heck led the way offensively for Gateway with four hits each.
The Grizzlies and Otters continue their series on Wednesday night. First pitch is set for 7:05 p.m. LHP Jason Zeigler (0-0, 0.00) will take the mound for the Grizzlies and he’ll be opposed by RHP Tyler Vail (7-2, 4.29). Sam Levitt and Kevin Schaefer will call the action on the Grizzlies Radio Network, which airs on 101 ESPN’s digital channels and 1400 AM KJFF.