The River City Rascals and Evansville Otters meet for a three-game series in two days this week. Things get started with a doubleheader on Wednesday starting at 5:05 p.m. The third and final game will be played at 6:35 p.m. on Thursday
The Rascals are 5-1 since their season-opening series against Lake Erie. River City swept the Florence Freedom and then took the last two of their first home series from the Gateway Grizzlies. Less than 10 games into this young season, River City is leading the league in team batting average (.300) and team on base percentage (.384) and second in team ERA (3.94). Third baseman Josh Silver and center fielder and leadoff hitter Dominique Taylor are second and fourth in the Frontier League in batting average at .464 and .432, respectively.
The Otters come in going in the opposite direction. Evansville has dropped three of their last four games. The Otters are second to the Rascals in team batting average led by the league’s top hitter, Nick Balog, who is hitting .484 over his first nine games. Evansville lost two-of-three at home to the Florence Freedom, their only common opponent.
River City won the season series last year 4-2, including a sweep to finish the regular season, by a combined score of 41-30. The Otters took the only series played at CarShield Field (then T. R. Hughes Ballpark) 2-1.
Game 1: Joe Scanio (1-1, 7.71 ERA) vs. TBA Wednesday, 5:05 p.m.
Scanio bounced back nicely from his shaky opening start. To open the Rascals three-game sweep of the Florence Freedom, Scanio threw six innings of two-run ball, striking out four and walking none. In his lone start against Evansville last season, Scanio struck out 11 batters in seven innings while walking only one and giving up two runs in a no decision.
Game 2: Lucas Laster (0-0, 0.00 ERA) vs. TBA Wednesday, 7:05 p.m.
Laster opened his season last Thursday against the Florence Freedom. The lefty pitched 4.1 innings but did so without relinquishing a run and surrendering only one hit. River City won both of Laster’s starts against the Otters last season. In total, the former Mississippi State Bulldog pitched 9.2 innings against the Otters and gave up three runs with a 7-3 K-BB rate.
Game 3: Zeb Sneed (0-0, 3.37 ERA) vs. TBA Thursday, 6:35 p.m.
After spending last season as reliever, Sneed seemed perfectly at home as a starter, and with Tim Koons on the injured list, he moves into the No. 3 starter role. Sneed’s eight-inning performance in the home opener is the longest outing by a Rascals starter this season. Out of the bullpen last year, Sneed faced Evansville three times and was touched up for runs in two-of-three of the appearances. The lowlight was giving up 3 earned runs while facing 4 batters and only getting one out before being pulled in an 11-9 home loss.
Follow @TimJKaiser on twitter for all your Rascals news throughout the summer.