The Evansville Otters used three home runs to defeat the Gateway Grizzlies 9-3 on Thursday night in the rubber game of a three-game series at GCS Ballpark.
The three home runs given up by the Gateway pitching staff accounted for 6 of Evansville’s 9 runs. The Grizzlies (23-39) trailed 4-0 after the first inning and couldn’t claw back.
Gateway starter Vince Molesky (3-4) allowed the first three batters of the game to reach in the first inning. Two singles and a walk loaded the bases for Chris Sweeney and the Otters’ center fielder delivered a towering grand slam over the left field fence to push Evansville out to an early 4-0 lead.
After a rough start, Molesky worked himself into a groove and held the Otters (43-20) scoreless in the following three innings. The Gateway offense backed him up with two runs in the fourth to cut the deficit in half at 4-2.
Back-to-back singles by Ben Waldrip and Craig Massoni started the inning and Richard Seigel later singled to load the bases with two outs. Madison Beaird followed with a two-RBI double to plate Waldrip and Massoni, which put Gateway within striking distance.
Molesky recorded a career-high 13 strikeouts, but once again fell victim to the home run ball later in the game. Chris Sweeney homered with one out in the fifth to put Evansville up 5-2 and John Schultz extended the lead once more with a solo shot to lead off the seventh.
Former big leaguer Brett Marshall kept the Gateway offense in check throughout his Frontier League debut. The right-hander allowed only two runs on five hits in six innings of work. Gateway added a run in the eighth inning against the Evansville bullpen, but couldn’t muster anything more.
Craig Massoni led the way offensively with two hits.
The Grizzlies continue their six-game homestand on Friday night with a weekend series against the Schaumburg Boomers. LHP Dillon Haviland (0-1, 6.75) will take the mound for Gateway and RHP Eddy Cody (6-2, 2.76) will pitch for the Boomers. The game can be heard on the Grizzlies Radio Network, which airs on 101 ESPN’s digital platforms and 1400 AM KJFF. Sam Levitt and Kevin Schaefer will call the action.