Evansville, Ind. – The Gateway Grizzlies lost both ends of a doubleheader on Saturday evening at Bosse Field, dropping both games by just three runs combined. The Otters won 6-4 in the first tilt and edged Gateway 4-3 in the second game.
In the opener, the Grizzlies (25-28) fell behind immediately as Nik Balog belted a three-run homer against RHP Vince Molesky (2-5) in the bottom half of the first. Molesky would settle down and not allow another run for the next three frames.
The score stayed 3-0 until Gateway’s offense came alive in the fifth against Evansville righty Tyler Vail (3-2). After a leadoff double from Ben Waldrip, rookie Zach Lavy crushed a two-run blast to right field. His first professional home run put the Grizzlies within a tally. Evansville (29-21) responded immediately with a two-RBI double from Josh Allen in the bottom half of the frame to make it 5-2.
In the sixth, Waldrip continued his night with a two-run homer against LHP Ken Frosch to put the Grizzlies within a run again. The Otters scored an insurance run on a wild pitch in the sixth.
Evansville led 6-4 going into Gateway’s final at-bat. After retiring two batters in a row to start the seventh, RHP Randy McCurry allowed two straight singles to Brandon Thomas and Tyler Tewell. Evansville’s closer ended the game by getting Blake Brown to fly out into right field.
The Grizzlies jumped ahead in the nightcap with two runs in the third inning without getting a single hit. Otters RHP Preston Olson (2-1) walked Lavy to begin the frame and then hit Seth Heck with a pitch. An error by third baseman Chris Riopedre allowed the first run to score while Logan Davis hit a sac fly to give Gateway a 2-0 advantage.
In the fourth, Evansville mounted a substantial threat against RHP JaVaun West (0-3) for the first time. West walked the first two batters of the frame and then fell behind 3-1 in the count on Denzel Richardson. On the next pitch, Richardson smacked a three-run homer over the centerfield wall to give the Otters a 3-2 lead.
After tacking on a run against RHP Kevin Jefferis in the bottom half of the sixth to extend their to 4-2, Evansville again turned to McCurry to close things out in the seventh. McCurry, who was looking for his 16th save of the season, did not finish the game without a fight from Gateway’s offense.
The first two batters reached base while Tewell entered the game as a pinch-hitter and laced a run-scoring double down the left field line to make it 4-3. The hit put the tying run on third base and the go-ahead run on second base with just one out.
McCurry bounced back to induce a pair of fly outs to centerfield from Davis and Craig Massoni.
The Grizzlies now head into the Frontier League’s All-Star break and return to action on Friday, July 15 at GCS Ballpark for the start of a three-game series against the Lake Erie Crushers. First pitch on Friday is at 6:35 p.m.