By Max Gun, Radio Broadcaster
The Battle Creek Bombers avoided their second consecutive series sweep on Friday night, earning a series split with the Wisconsin Woodchucks, winning 7-3.
The Bombers got on the board in the very first inning, tagging Woodchucks starter Dylan Dwyer, (Kentucky) for a pair of runs. Cayce Bredlau (Austin Peay) reached on an error with one out, and Lin Li and Brennon Lund (BYU) followed with singles to load the bases. Ryan Budnick (Santa Clara) worked a bases loaded walk to score Bredlau to make it 1-0, and Dre Gleason continued his hot hitting by swatting an RBI single to score Li, and the Bombers led 2-0 after one inning.
Battle Creek padded their lead in the third inning. Lund struck out to lead off the inning, but it got away from the catcher Tanner Gragg (Kansas). Gragg threw to first base to complete the strikeout, but his throw was high and got away from first baseman Albee Weiss (Cal St Northridge), and Lund was able to get to second base. He eventually scored on a Gleason sacrifice fly to extend the Bombers’ lead to 3-0.
The Woodchucks cut into the lead in the fourth inning, when Al Molina (Coastal Carolina) led off the inning with a double off of Bombers starter Jordan Knutson (Missouri State). Ty Black (Ohio) then singled to get Wisconsin on the board, 3-1.
The Bombers got that run right back in the fourth inning. Dan Swain (Siena) led off the frame with a single, and he eventually scored on a Lund sacrifice fly to extend Battle Creek’s lead to 4-1.
In the sixth inning, the Bombers came out swinging to put the finishing touches on the Woodchcuks. Swain led off with a double, and Bredlau singled to plate him. Bredau was able to reach second base on a fielding error by right fielder Jared Oliva (Arizona). That set up Lund who singled to score Bredlau, pushing the Bombers’ lead to 6-1.
Kennen Eaton (Wichita State) doubled with two out in the seventh inning, and Gragg knocked him in to bring the Woodchucks within 6-2.
Battle Creek went up by five runs again on the flip end of the seventh inning stretch, when Hank Truluck (Florida State) walked, stole second base, and scored on a Bredlau single to give the Bombers’ a 7-2 lead.
Wisconsin scored one run in the ninth inning off of Thomas Sander (Northwestern Oklahoma State) when Gragg doubled home Eaton, but it wasn’t enough to overcome the Bombers.
In his final start for the Bombers, Knutson (2-2) earned the win after pitching 6 innings and allowed just 1 earned run on 2 hits. He walked 4 and struck out 4. He has reached his innings limit set by his coaches at Missouri State, thus forcing him to leave Battle Creek.
Gleason led the Bombers offense by going 3-for-3 with 2 RBI. He has 10 RBI in 10 second-half games, after hitting .170 in the first half. Bredlau went 3-for-4 with 2 runs scored and 2 RBI. Lund and Swain also pitched in with 2 hits of their own.
Dwyer (3-4) took the loss for the Woodchucks after lasting just 3 innings. He allowed 4 hits, 3 runs (1 earned), 2 walks and 3 strikeouts. Wisconsin’s defense was sloppy all night long. They committed three errors in the field.
The Bombers, (18-34) now turn their attention to the Madison Mallards over the weekend in the final series before the All-Star break. Battle Creek split with the Mallards in Madison last weekend. First pitch on Saturday is at 7:05 p.m.
It’s Spectacular Saturday at the ballpark presented by The Onstaff Group. The first 500 fans, adults (21+), will receive a free pint glass. There will also be post-game fireworks.
The Battle Creek Bombers are a member of the finest developmental league for elite college baseball players, the Northwoods League. Playing its 22nd season of summer collegiate baseball, the Northwoods League is the largest organized baseball league in the world with 18 teams, drawing significantly more fans, in a friendly ballpark experience, than any league of its kind. A valuable training ground for coaches, umpires and front office staff, more than 120 Northwoods League players have advanced to Major League Baseball, including Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer (WAS) and MLB All-Stars Chris Sale (CWS), Jordan Zimmermann (WAS), Curtis Granderson (NYM), Allen Craig (BOS) and Ben Zobrist (OAK). For more information, visit www.battlecreekbombers.com.
(Story photo courtesy of Battle Creek Photography and Design – Levi Green)