JOLIET – The perfect response after letting a game slip away late is to bounce back with a victory in your very next contest.
And that’s what the Joliet Slammers were able to do on Saturday when they met Evansville in the middle game of their weekend series.
Joliet overcame a 2-1 deficit by scoring three runs in the fourth inning and went on to claim a 5-4 Frontier League victory over the Otters before 3,224 fans at Silver Cross Field.
The Slammers (17-25) overcame the disappointment of their Friday 5-4 loss in 11 innings to Evansville (25-17) after receiving contributions both at the plate and on the mound.
“We just have to start playing better baseball,” Slammers manager Jeff Isom said. “Last night was frustrating because we had an opportunity to win it and didn’t do it. Tonight, we went out there and finally got a win.
“From a psychological standpoint, we’ve got to find a way to win some of these games. It doesn’t always come down to pitching since we have opportunities to score extra runs with two outs. We’re putting a lot of pressure on our pitchers by being in one-run games.”
Joliet grabbed the early lead, getting a run in the first after Max Casper led off with a walk, Chris Epps followed with an infield hit and Adam Giacalone got a two-out single to center.
Evansville moved in front in the fourth when Chris Elder hit a two-run blast to right, but the Slammers responded with three runs in the bottom of that inning.
Jose Garcia started things with a single to center, and after getting sacrificed to second by Danny Hernandez, he came home on Tyler Roberts’ two-out double to center.
After Casper (2 runs) drew his third walk of the contest, Epps also walked before Russell Moldenhauer smacked a single to right to bring home two more runs.
“It wasn’t the prettiest of hits, but that’s baseball for you,” Moldenhauer said. “I’ve had a few games lately where I lined out so it was definitely nice to get that big hit and two RBIs.
“This was good for our morale and it boosts our confidence. Every game is pretty big and it’s definitely nice to get a win at home under our belts. One or two plays here or there could change our whole season around.”
Slammers starter and winner Kody McFarland (2-1) yielded a solo homerun to John Schultz to open the fifth, but he retired the next three hitters to exit the game after allowing four hits.
Joliet got a run back in the sixth when Hernandez led off with a double to left, was sacrificed to third by Seth Granger and scored when he beat a throw home following a grounder by Roberts, who joined Moldenhauer with two RBI.
Sam Moore allowed one hit and struck out two while retiring the last five batters he faced during his two innings before Harry Marino pitched the eighth and didn’t yield any hits.
Jordan Wellander entered in the ninth and after allowing a one-out homer to left by former Slammers Kolin Conner, he retired the last two hitters for his fifth save.