Unearned run snaps tie, enables Otters to sweep Windy City

Christopher Riopedre singled home Chris Sweeney with an unearned run in the bottom of the eighth to snap a tie and lift the Evansville Otters to 7-6 victory over the Windy City Thunderbolts Thursday night before a Bosse Field crowd of 4,518.
Chris Breen and Josh Allen both hit their fifth home runs of the season for Evansville, which swept the three-game series in improving to 25-18 in the Frontier League West Division. Windy City, which has lost six straight, is 22-20.
With one out in the eighth, Sweeney singled. Nik Balog reached on an error by left fielder Coco Johnson, which put a damper on his 4-for-5 performance at the plate.
Breen reached on a fielder’s choice as Sweeney advanced to third. Riopedre then delivered what proved to be the game-winning base hit.
Breen finished 2-for-4 with two runs batted in for the Otters, boosting his batting average to .294. Allen, who hit a pair of two-run home runs in Tuesday’s 5-2 series-opening victory, was 1-for-4. He is hitting .373.
Riopedre, who joined Breen with two hits, is batting .339.
Hunter Ackerman will get the start for Evansville, which opens a three-game series at Lake Erie on Friday. The Crushers have a 17-23 record.

Otters’ losing streak stretches to five games

The Southern Illinois Miners increased the Otters’ losing streak to five as they beat Evansville 5-3 Sunday to sweep the three-game Frontier League baseball series at Rent One Park in Marion, Illinois.
Julius Gaines’ two-run double scored Steve Marino and Toby DeMello to snap a 3-3 tie in the bottom of the eighth for the Miners.
Trailing 2-0, Evansville took the lead with three runs in the top of the second. John Schultz and Julio Rodriguez’s RBI singles were the highlights. They have 15 and 13 RBIs, respectively, for the season.
Shane Kennedy doubled and singled to spark Southern Illinois (26-12). Reliever Kyle Tinius held the Otters hitless over 31/3 innings to gain the victory.
Schultz had two hits for Evansville (22-18), which is idle on Monday. The Otters return to Bosse Field to host Windy City at 6:35 p.m. Tuesday.

Newburgh resident Delgado strong for Binghamton

Newburgh resident Casey Delgado allowed just one run in eight innings in gaining the win in the Binghamton Mets’ 6-1 victory over host Erie Wednesday night in a Double-A Eastern League game.

Delgado, an undrafted free agent out of Austin Peay in 2013, has climbed up the minor league ladder. He pitched for the traveling Frontier Greys and Traverse City in the Frontier League, before signing with the Mets last summer. He pitched for Class A Savannah last season and began this year with Class A St. Lucie.

After going 4-0 with a 2.67 earned run average for St. Lucie, Delgado was promoted to Binghamton, where he has posted a 3-2 record with a 3.77 earned run average in five starts.

Otters’ Breen honored by Frontier League

Chris Breen celebrated being named Frontier League Player of the Week by belting a pair of home runs and accumulating five runs batted in to spark the Evansville Otters to a 10-4 victory over host Gateway on Monday. Breen finished 3-for-5 with three runs scored for the Otters, who improved to 10-6. They are a game ahead of Southern Illinois (8-6) and Gateway (9-7) in the West Division.

Breen, in his first season with the Otters, recorded at least one hit in each of his team’s six games. It marked the second week in a row that an Otters player received this honor; last week was Nik Balog. Breen went 3-4 against the Rascals, with a home run, two runs batted in and two runs scored. He then followed that performance with a 3-3 night on Saturday, with a double and a run scored. Before joining the Frontier League, Breen spent time in the South Atlantic League, Gulf Coast League, and New-York Pennsylvania League with the Yankees organization. Originally from Winter Springs, Florida the 22–year- old was drafted in the 12th round of the 2012 MLB June Amateur Draft out of Winter Springs High School.

Southern Illinois’ Rick Teasley was Pitcher of the Week, as chosen by Pointstreak, the official statistical provider of the Frontier League and the Independent Professional Baseball Federation. Teasley is 1-0 this season with a 1.42 ERA in 3 games pitched and 19 innings.

Mastroianni called up by Twins

Former University of Southern Indiana standout Darin Mastroianni was called up to the Minnesota Twins on Friday, according to LaVelle Neal of the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

The 30-year-old outfielder could make his first big league appearance since 2014. He hadn’t gotten off to a good start in the minor leagues this season, batting .208 in 95 plate appearances for Triple-A Rochester. But he posted a .330 on-base percentage and offers the parent club versatility at all three outfield spots defensively.

Mastroianni earned All-America honors as a junior at USI, batting .409 with 64 steals to lead the Eagles to a third-place finish at the 2007 NCAA Division II World Series. He was drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays in the 16th round that summer. Mastroianni is a minor league career .274 hitter in the Toronto, Minnesota, Washington and Philadelphia organizations. In 306 MLB plate appearances, he has batted .212 with a .274 on-base and .289 slugging percentage.

Otters sign North Posey graduate Patton

In a way, Keith Patton is coming home. The North Posey High School graduate was signed by the Evansville Otters after being selected as the 18th pick of the 2016 Frontier League Draft.

“Keith threw very well at tryout camp,” said Otters manager Andy McCauley. “He showed good movement on his fastball. He’ll be competing for a bullpen job.”

Patton, a 6-foot-3, 219-pound righthander, played collegiately at Lindsey Wilson College.

The Otters chose catcher T.J. Wharton with their ninth selection of the draft.

In other news, Otters first baseman-designated hitter Scott DeJong was signed by the Miami Marlins’ organization.
“I’m happy for Scott to get another opportunity,” McCauley said. “It reinforces Evansville’ commitment to moving players back to organizational baseball.”

DeJong was chosen in the 32nd round of the 2014 MLB draft by the Los Angeles Dodgers. He hit .293 with 10 home runs and 45 runs batted in, playing for the Ogden Raptors in 2015 before being released. Ogden is a Pioneer League (rookie) affiliate of the Dodgers.


Otters name former IU catcher Segal as hitting coach

The Evansville Otters have hired former Indiana University catcher Bobby Segal as their new hitting coach.

“I would like to thank (Otters manager) Andy McCauley and the Otters ownership for the chance to return to professional baseball in a community where the tradition is so rich,” Segal said in a written statement. “My focus on the day-to-day process will give the loyal ownership and community something they will be proud of. My family is excited to follow Andy’s winning brand of baseball and is grateful to become a part of Otter Ball.”

He was the Gary RailCats’ hitting coach in 2013 and served in the same capacity as Wabash Valley College the past three years.

The Otters open at home against Schaumburg on May 13.

Eickhoff rusty in season debut for Phils

Still considered a little rusty as he recovers from a fractured right thumb suffered in spring training, Philadelphia Phillies starter Jerad Eickhoff allowed three runs, two earned, in losing his season debut to the New York Mets on Friday. The Phillies’ bullpen blew up after Eickhoff departed as the defending National League champions went on to post a 7-2 victory at Citi Field.

“I felt frustrated because I wasn’t executing my fastball,” Eickhoff told Philly.com.

On the other hand, he said most of the day when he had to really make a pitch he was able to do so.

“He didn’t look as sharp as I’ve seen him,” Phils manager Pete Mackanin said to Philly.com. “But he still only gave up two runs, which is fine.”

Eickhoff (0-1), a 25-year-old righthander from Mater Dei High School, threw five innings, allowed five hits while walking two and fanning three. It took him 60 pitches to record his first six outs.



Former Otter Little signs with Braves

Arguably the best setup man in the Frontier League, former Evansville Otters reliever Connor Little signed a minor league contract with the Atlanta Braves. That’s what the Frontier League is all about, giving guys a chance to get to affiliated baseball.

Little, 25, posted a 1.19 earned run average in 47 games with Evansville in 2015.  He struck out 90 and walked 14 in 68 innings pitched.  Little finished with a 7-5 record and two saves.

He appeared in four games with the Otters as a starter in 2014 before moving to the bullpen in 2015. Little was honored by Baseball America as the eighth-best independent player in the country in October.