The Evansville Otters picked up their 30th win of the season Thursday with a 5-1 rubber match victory over the Windy City ThunderBolts south of Chicago.
Evansville took the lead in the first and held onto it through all nine innings. Miles Gordon led off the ballgame with a double before stealing third and scoring on a wild pitch. The Otters then led 1-0.
Tim Holdgrafer dominated the T-Bolts from the first inning onward, allowing only three hits --- all singles and two of them bloopers --- over seven shutout innings en route to his fourth winning decision of the year.
The Otters added on with a three-run fourth that opened with a leadoff home run from former Windy City ThunderBolt, Riley Krane. Krane clubbed his eighth round-tripper of the season in the ballpark where he hit his first professional homer as a ThunderBolt.
The Otters added two more in the inning thanks to a two-out, two-run single off the bat of Andrew Penner, extending Evansville’s lead to 4-0.
Taylor Wright would relieve Holdgrafer to open the home half of the eighth, tossing a 1-2-3 inning in his first frame out of the bullpen.
The ninth inning would see each side put up their final tally of the game, as Andretty Cordero scored from third on a wild pitch pushing a 5-0 advantage, before Rob Calabrese would double home the ThunderBolts’ lone run in the bottom of the ninth.
In his second inning of work, Wright would set down the last three batters of the ballgame 1-2-3 after the Calabrese double, sending the Otters into a first-place tie with the Florence Y’alls before their game in Marion, Illinois Thursday night.
Tim Holdgrafer earned the win, while T-Bolts starter Jake Fisher took the loss.
The Otters next travel to Sauget, Illinois for a three-game weekend series against the Gateway Grizzlies on the east side of St. Louis. First pitch is at 6:45 p.m. Friday. Fans can listen into the action on the Otters' YouTube channel, starting with a 6:30 p.m. pregame show.