Loggers Top Rox 7-5 in 10 Innings
ST. CLOUD, MN – The La Crosse Loggers won a wild one over the St. Cloud Rox on Sunday evening, edging the hosts 7-5 in a back-and-forth affair that lasted ten innings at Joe Faber Field.
St. Cloud struck first in the bottom of the first inning when there lead-off hitter Chandler Eden took the third pitch he saw from Loggers starter Nathaniel Garley (New Mexico) over the fence for a solo shot to give the Rox an early 1-0 lead. But that would turn out to be the only run that Garley would surrender as he went on toss five effective innings of one-run baseball, limiting the Rox to five hits while walking one and striking out six.
The Loggers would break through in the third when Ryan Mantle (Creighton) would double home Jake Hirabayashi (UCLA) who had singled to start the inning. Two batters later David Villar (South Florida) would drive in Mantle with an RBI single and move up to second on a Rox miscue. Grant Judkins (Iowa) would then follow with an RBI groundout to give the Lumbermen a 3-1 lead through 2.5 innings.
The score would remain that way until the bottom of the sixth when St. Cloud would push a run across against La Crosse reliever Cody Ebert (Columbia College) to cut the lead to 3-2.
St. Cloud would then put together a 3-run rally in the bottom of the eighth inning to give them their first lead, at 5-3, heading to the top of the ninth. After the first two batters were retired for the Loggers in the ninth, newcome Jake Thurber (New Mexico) swung and missed at strike three but the pitch got away from the catcher and Thurber hustled into first to keep the inning alive. That would turn out to be a key play as Korey Lee (Cal) followed with a single and the Garrett Christman (Butler), down to his last strike, drove a ball to the wall in right field for a two-RBI double to tie the game at 5.
The Rox would mount a rally right away in the bottom of the ninth as they loaded the bases with no outs against Sam Messina (Army), who was also making his Logger debut. But Messina settled in to get two ground outs and a pop out to get out of the bases loaded jam.
More drama then unfolded in the top of the tenth when Mantle led off with a double followed by a Matt Morales (UCF) single and an intentional walk to Villar to once again load the bases with no outs. But the Rox got back-to-back strike outs before Thurber came up with a big, two-out single to centerfield to plate two runs and give the Lumbermen a 7-5 lead that Ryan Anderson (Nevada) would come on and secure with his first save of the season.
The Loggers offense produced nine hits on the night led by Mantle and Hirabayashi, who each collected two. Christman and Thurber also drove in two runs. The Loggers used six different pitchers on the night, with Messina notching the victory.
La Crosse will now head to Eau Claire for a 6:35 p.m. game against the Express at Carson Park. Air time on the Logger Radio Network is set for 6:00 p.m.