Florence unable to contain Evansville offense in series loss

G. Michael Graham
G. Michael Graham
Mike Graham covers sports for LINK nky

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Totals of 24 runs and 35 hits offensively generally lead to series wins, if not sweeps.

But the Evansville Otters offensive production was a tad more timely in the final two games of their three-game set with the Florence Y’alls, totaling 29 runs and 34 hits to take two-of-three in the series at Thomas More Stadium.

The Y’alls opened the series with a 6-4 win, outhitting the Otters, 13-9. Third baseman Brian Fuentes and Ray Zuberer both went 3-for-4 to lead the way. Zuberer doubled and homered, driving in three and scoring once with Fuentes doubling and scoring twice. Left fielder Lane Hoover added two hits with first baseman Harrison DiNicola driving in two.

“Offensively, we did a lot of good things,” said Chad Rhoades, Florence Manager. “We drew a lot of walks this series. We got those big hits when we needed to, moved guys over when we needed to. It was nice. Guys waited out some pitches, saw some deep counts.”

Florence starter Carter Spivey (2-0) pitched six innings, striking out seven and walking one over six innings as Florence (34-47) built a 4-0 lead. Carter Poiry pitched the seventh with Aaron Rund pitching the last two innings.

“I’m not too worried about hitting spots,” Spivey said. “I’m more worried about having conviction in what I’m throwing and trusting my stuff is good enough to get the hitter out. I focus on getting ahead and filling up the strike zone as much as possible. As long as I’m in the strike zone early and often, I’ll be okay.”

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Evansville (44-36) took the second game, 11-10. Florence built a 9-5 lead after three. But the Otters scored two in the fifth and three in the sixth to go up 10-9.

Florence outhit Evansville, 13-12. Catcher Nick Wimmers and shortstop Ed Johnson had three hits each with Zuberer tallying two. Fuentes and Zuberer homered with Wimmers and second baseman Tristin Garcia doubling. Right fielder Hank Ziesler, DiNicola and Zuberer batted in two each. Fuentes, Zuberer and Wimmers scored two runs each.

Ryan Watson started on the mound for Florence, pitching four innings, striking out two and walking three. Ross Thompson (1-2), Christian Cobsy and Nick Ernst pitched in relief, combining to strike out four and walk one.

Evansville exploded for 22 hits in an 18-8 win to take the series Thursday. The Otters scored runs in each of the first four innings to build a 9-5 lead then pulled away with five in the sixth.

“I think we were maybe a little over 50 percent (Thursday) with first-pitch strikes,” Rhoades said. “It’s a hard way to live, a hard way to change their plan in their approach if they’re constantly in advantage counts. That was really it. It came back to bite us a bit. The bullpen had some big innings. In the good innings, we worked ahead and expanded where we wanted to.”

The Y’alls pounded out nine hits as Zuberer went 2-for-4 belting a two-run blast in the third for his third home run of the season. Garcia and Johnson added two hits each. Fuentes had a double and two RBI and Johnson added two RBI with second baseman Jeremiah Burks scoring three runs.

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“I just didn’t try to do too much with it,” Zuberer said. “You just keep it simple. It just happens to go over the fence sometimes. It’s really nice.”

Florence starter Bobby Brabrand (3-10) lasted four innings, striking out one and walking two. Poiry and Kent Klyman pitched two innings each before Brian McKenna pitched the ninth, combining for four strikeouts and two walks.

Florence travels to Joliet (37-44) for the first time this year for a three-game series starting Friday at 7:35 p.m.

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