EVANSVILLE, Ind. -- The River City Rascals had to settle for a doubleheader split against the Evansville Otters on Wednesday night. They won a back-and-forth, extra-inning thriller in the opener before falling in the nightcap 2-0, just their second shutout loss of the season. The win guaranteed the Rascals the season series victory over the Otters, which would give them the playoff tie-breaker should the teams finish with the same record at the end of the season.
In Game 1, the Otters jumped out to a 3-0 first inning lead, getting a two-run double from Ryan Long and a sacrifice fly from Taylor Lane. The Rascals would not record their first hit until the fifth, but took the 4-3 lead that frame on a grand slam from Nolan Meadows. Long tied the game with another RBI double in the bottom of the fifth. Zach Lavy homered in the sixth to put the Rascals in front 5-4, but the Otters again answered with a game-tying sacrifice fly from Mike Rizzitello.
After neither team scored in the seventh, the game went to extra-innings. Both teams were again held off the scoreboard in the eighth, but Trevor Achenbach hit a two-out, three-run blast to put the Rascals on top for good in the top of the ninth. Long added an RBI single in the bottom of the frame, but the Rascals held on for the 8-6 victory.
Rascals starter Keenan Bartlett took a no-decision, allowing four runs in four innings. Taylor Sugg (2-0) earned the win, pitching the final three innings of the game and allowing just an unearned run. Otters starter Austin Nicely allowed five runs, four earned, over six innings in a no-decision. Evansville reliever Drew Beyer (1-3) took the loss.
Game 2 was dominated by pitching, as the Otters scored the only two runs of the game in the third inning, on back-to-back RBI singles from Long and Jack Meggs. The Rascals advanced only one runner past first base in the game.
Tyler Beardsley (8-3) earned the complete game shutout for the Otters, allowing only three hits over seven scoreless innings, while striking out nine without issuing a walk. Rascals starter Austin Dubsky (4-4) took the hard-luck loss, allowing two runs on four hits over six innings with six strikeouts, also working a complete game.
The Rascals (47-34) and the Otters (46-34) will play the rubbermatch of the series tomorrow night, with first pitch scheduled for 6:35 p.m. CDT from historic Bosse Field. Brendan Feldmann is expected to take the mound for the Rascals in the finale.