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Otters Walk-Off on Freedom in Series Opener

May 17, 2019 - Frontier League (FL) - Florence Freedom News Release

FLORENCE, Ky - Looking to improve to 3-0 in series openers in 2019, the Florence Freedom, presented by Titan Mechanical Solutions, saw the Evansville Otters rally late to steal a, 4-3, win in walk-off fashion on Friday night at historic Bosse Field.

With southpaw, Karl Craigie (0-1) on the bump and the score deadlocked at three in the bottom of the ninth, Hunter Cullen tapped an infield hit to short, putting the winning run on base for the Otters (4-3). David Cronin laid down a sacrifice bunt one batter later, moving the winning run to second before Cullen took third on a Keith Grieshaber fly-out to center. The Freedom (4-3) decided not to face Ryan Long, intentionally walking the three-hole hitter to face the 0-4 Mitchell Hansen. Hansen made it hurt, singling up the middle on the first pitch he saw to give Evansville the thrilling, 4-3, walk-off victory. Danny Hrbek (1-0) earned the win on the mound, spanning two perfect innings after Patrick McGuff was pulled ahead of the eighth.

It was Florence who started the scoring on the night, plating a run in their first at-bat courtesy a well-executed safety squeeze by Andre Mercurio. Adding to their lead in the top of the second, the Freedom made the score, 3-0, when Connor Crane laced a two-run double to left-center. Scoring on the knock was Taylor Bryant and Jackson Pritchard, who singled and doubled, respectively earlier in the frame. Florence would get just one more hit all night, that coming in the fifth inning when Luis Pintor laced a hustle double to extend his season-long hitting streak to seven games.

Evansville would threaten but fail to score a run in their first two at-bats off Florence starter, Scott Sebald. Cullen put the home team on the scoreboard in the bottom of the third, launching his second home run of the season, a solo-shot that cut the Freedom lead to, 3-1. The score would hold until the bottom of the seventh when Evansville plated a pair to knot the score at three. Cronin knocked in the first run with a sacrifice fly, before Grieshaber stalemated the affair with an RBI-bloop single that scored Rob Calabrese. Sebald would record two outs in the inning before Craigie got the call, ending his night having notched his second quality start in as many outings. Sebald finished with a final line of 6.2 innings pitched allowing three earned runs on four hits with four walks and a season-high seven strikeouts en route to the no-decision.

Also taking a no-decision on the night was McGuff, who worked into a groove over the middle innings on his way to a three-run, ten strikeout performance. The right-hander surrendered four hits and walked one batter over his seven complete innings.

These two teams will collide in the middle-game of the weekend series on Saturday night. Florence will look to force a rubber-match on Sunday, sending righty Frank Valentino to the hill opposite southpaw Austin Nicely of Evansville. First pitch is slated for 6:35 p.m. CST at Bosse Field.

The Florence Freedom are members of the Independent Frontier League and play all home games at UC Health Stadium located at 7950 Freedom Way in Florence, KY. The Freedom can be found online at florencefreedom.com, or by phone at (859) 594-4487.


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