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PREVIEW: Otters return home for series against Normal

The Evansville Otters return home this weekend for a three-game set with the Normal Cornbelters, starting Friday at 6:35 p.m.
05/18/2018 9:45 AM -
Probable starters 
 
EVANSVILLE: Patrick McGuff (1-0, 0.00 ERA)
 
NORMAL: Matt Portland (0-0, 4.50 ERA)
 
Weather
 
Mostly cloudy
 
High: 76, Low: 65
 

 
EVANSVILLE, Ind. – The Evansville Otters return home this weekend for a three-game set with the Normal Cornbelters, starting Friday at 6:35 p.m.
 
The Otters are coming off a series win against the Joliet Slammers where the Otters won the first two games of the series before dropping the series finale.
 
In the series finale Thursday, Joliet avoided the series sweep by defeating Evansville 7-2. 
 
The Slammers jumped out early with three runs in the first inning and never looked back from there. 
 
In the three-game set, Toby Thomas and Ryan Long each had two hits in every game as both now have hitting streaks of six games to open the season. 
 
Evansville’s bullpen was solid throughout the series, allowing four runs in 15 innings with the first eight innings scoreless. Mitchell Aker earned two saves in the series, bringing his season total to three.
 
The series opener against the Normal Cornbelters is scheduled for a 6:35 p.m. from Bosse Field. 
 
The Otters will give the ball to Patrick McGuff for his second start of the season. McGuff picked up his first win of the season last Saturday at Bosse Field when the Otters beat the Washington Wild Things 8-5. The right-hander threw six innings, allowing no runs off three hits and two walks while striking out three. 
 
McGuff, a Cincinnati, Ohio native, was drafted in the 36th round of the 2016 MLB Draft by the Minnesota Twins from Morehead State University. From 2016-17, McGuff split time between the GCL Twins, Elizabethton and Cedar Rapids. In 49 appearances in affiliated baseball, he went 5-2 with a 2.40 ERA and 12 saves. He pitched 82 1/3 innings and struck out 95 batters.
 
The Normal Cornbelters will send southpaw Matt Portland to the mound. In Portland’s first start of the year against Traverse City, he received a no-decision after throwing four innings, giving up two runs on three hits while striking out six and walking five. 
 
Offensively, Normal is led by fifth year Cornbelter Santiago Chirino. This year, Chirino is hitting .440 with three stolen bases through his first six games. Last season, Chirino led the league in hitting with a .357 average while playing in every contest for the Cornbelters.
 
In 2017, the Otters went 6-6 against the Cornbelters, including 2-4 at Bosse Field. Overall, Evansville is 36-38 against Normal all-time. This weekend will be the first of four scheduled series meetings this year for the two ball clubs. 
 
Series coverage will be available on WUEV 91.5 FM for all three games with Sam Jellinek (play-by-play) and Bill McKeon (analyst) on the call.
 
Fans can also follow Otters social media on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for game updates throughout the day.
 
The Evansville Otters are the 2006 and 2016 Frontier League champions. Season tickets, group outing packages, and single game tickets are on sale now for the 2018 season.
 
Tickets can be purchased online at evansvilleotters.com, by calling 812-435-8686, or at the Bosse Field box office. For more information, visit evansvilleotters.com or call 812-435-8686.


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