The River City Rascals had the tying run on second with nobody out in the top of the ninth but couldn’t convert and fell one run short in game one of the Frontier League Championship Series Tuesday night, 3-2, against the Evansville Otters at historic Bosse Field.
With three outs to work with, the Rascals needed one run to extend the series opener and they had their top of the order due up against the Otters Western Division All-Star closer Randy McCurry.
Alexi Colon nearly tied the game up at two with one swing of the bat but fell just short and it ended up being a double to the center field wall.
With no outs, Johnny Morales was asked to sacrifice Colon to third base but popped the bunt up in foul territory and Otters catcher Julio Rodriguez made the play for the first out.
Ludy flew out to right that moved Alexi Colon to third base and then McCurry secured his second save of the postseason with a game ending strikeout to Josh Silver.
The game was a pitcher’s duel throughout and it featured a pair of rookie arms in Rascals southpaw Austin Warner and Otters right-hander from Eastern Illinois University Matt Wivinis.
Tuesday night marked Warner’s second postseason start and he was solid allowing just two runs on five hits and struck out six.
“My slider was my pitch today and I was able to limit the damage with some strikeouts and ground outs,” Warner said “They were hitting the fastball a little bit though and that’s where both of the runs came from,” Warner said.
After a three up three down inning in the first, Warner worked out of a bases loaded jam in the second inning and had to pitch out of more trouble in the Otters next opportunity.
Otters leadoff hitter Rolando Gomez led off with a triple and then after one of Warner’s six strikeouts, shortstop Chris Riopedre got the Otters on the board with a sacrifice fly to center to give his team a 1-0 lead.
Riopedre also drove in the Otters second run, and again it came with a runner on third. The Otters had the bases loaded with no outs and Riopedre gave his team a 2-0 lead with a RBI groundout that scored Julio Rodriguez.
Prior to the RBI groundout, the Otters loaded the bases on a single, a fielder’s choice and a bunt single from Josh Allen that was originally meant to be a sacrifice.
Offensively for the Rascals, Kyle Gaedele drove in the only run with a single that was smoked off the left field wall to drive in Josh Ludy.
Besides Gaedele’s hit, Ludy had two and Clint Freeman had one in the eight innings that Otters starter Matt Wivinis was on the mound.
Taking the win, Wivinis’s final line was one run on four hits and struck out six and
Game two is scheduled for Wednesday night and the Rascals will send right-hander Tim Koons to the mound looking to even up the series at one.
First pitch is scheduled for 6:35.