Watson’s pitching gem helps Y’alls avoid sweep at Evansville

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

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The Florence Y’alls needed a quality start to leave Evansville with a win Sunday and Ryan Watson delivered, throwing seven shutout innings in a 5-0 victory.

Watson (3-3) lowered his earned-run average to 4.05 in the outing while striking out six.

“(Sunday) was a great team win,” Watson said. “The guys behind me played very well. I got to face them last week, didn’t do very well, figured out what I needed to do. I mixed everything well. They were landing in the right spots. I felt good with everything.”

The Y’alls (36-54) outhit the Otters, 11-7. Second baseman Tristin Garcia went 4-for-5 with two doubles, one run batted in and one run scored. Center fielder Ray Zuberer and left fielder Hank Zeisler had two hits each. DiNicola belted a three-run home run in the top of the sixth to extend the Florence lead to 4-0. Catcher Nick Wimmers added an RBI double in the top of the eighth.

“I just try to stick to my approach,” Garcia said. “I’ve been hitting balls hard all week every time I get in. They gave me something to hit. It was one of those days where everything fell down.”

Florence lost the first two games by 8-4 and 4-3 scores Friday and Saturday. Manager Chad Rhoades said the youth once again hurt the Y’alls in those games.

“I thought it was one of those series where you saw what we’ve gone through in the season come to light,” Rhoades said. “But I thought the pitching performed really well. They were close games like they have been, especially against those better teams. That was what we were aiming for this whole series.”

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Florence trailed 3-2 Friday then took a 4-3 lead in the top of the seventh when center fielder Lane Hoover singled in Jeremiah Burks and Zeisler. But Evansville (49-40) scored three in the bottom of the inning to go up 6-4 and added two more in the bottom of the eighth.

Evansville outhit Florence, 7-3. But the Y’alls worked eight walks and allowed seven. Third baseman Brian Fuentes hit a solo home run in the top of the third and Zeisler doubled.

Carter Poiry pitched three innings for Florence, striking out two. Ross Thompson (1-3) took over in the fourth and pitched into the seventh, striking out four and Kent Klyman struck out three in two innings of work.

Carter Spivey started the Saturday loss and pitched into the sixth, striking out eight and walking three before Aaron Rund (0-1) completed the game, striking out three and walking three. Florence committed three errors leading to two Evansville unearned runs.

Florence outhit Evansville, 8-5. Catcher Zade Richardson led the way going 3-for-4.

Florence plays its final home series against Schaumburg (52-37) starting Tuesday at 6:32 p.m.

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