Baseball: Slammers fall 3-2 to Evansville Otters
By Tim Tierney For Sun-Times Media August 27, 2013 10:04PM
Updated: September 29, 2013 6:45AM
Before the weekend road series against Rockford, Joliet manager Mike Breyman gave the Slammers three reasons why they should be able to finish the difficult season with their best effort.
“You’re playing for yourself, you’re playing for the teammate you’ve been playing with the last three months and you’re playing for the man upstairs who gave you the talent to play,’’ Breyman said. “I think they understood that.’’
A walk-off three-run home run kept the Slammers from taking two of three in Rockford, and they found themselves in another close game Tuesday night against Evansville.
The Otters held on to an early lead to open the series with a 3-2 win over Joliet in front of 1,110 fans at Silver Cross Field.
Slammers rookie starter Andrew Busby (0-6) put together a strong outing after giving up a three-run homer in the first inning.
The 22-year-old right-hander from Gardendale, Ala., struck out 13 over nine innings and allowed five hits, only one after the first inning.
Joliet (35-52) closed the gap to 3-2 with a run in the fifth. Darian Sandford led off with a bunt single, stole second, went to third on a groundout and scored on a grounder by Joe Meggs.
The Slammers had made it 3-1 in the third on an RBI infield hit by Meggs. Sandford drew a leadoff walk, stole second and went to third on a groundout before Meggs’ hit.
Evansville (45-42) entered the game with a .270 team batting average, highest in the Frontier League.
The Otters’ Nick Schwaner hit his team-leading 13th home run of the season, a three-run shot in the first, to put Evansville ahead 3-0.
Schwaner would have been retired, but Joliet catcher Kolin Conner couldn’t hold on to a foul popup.
Despite the loss, Tuesday has been the best day of the week this season for Joliet with a 7-5 record.
Breyman said the Slammers “have to hold each other accountable’’ for playing the game the right way despite their record.
“Even though it’s not been the season we wanted, guys are still getting after it,’’ Breyman said. “It seems like we’re kind of limping along here at the end, and guys are still playing the game really hard.’’
Shawn Kale (5-3, 4.09 ERA) will start the second game of the series for the Slammers at 7:05 p.m. Wednesday.