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NWL Roundup 6/15

Alexandria 2 – Mankato 1

Mitch Handley (North Alabama) went seven strong innings and the offense supplied just enough run support as the Beetles defeated the Mankato MoonDogs 2-1.  Jacob Patricka (Indiana State) countered for the MoonDogs in the losing effort, allowing two earned over six innings. Mankato took a 1-0 lead in the third inning, stringing together a pair of two-out hits.  After setting down the first eight batters of the game, Handley gave up a two-out double to Troy Larson (Minnesota), then an RBI single to Nick Judkins (Iowa Central CC). The Beetles responded in the bottom of the fifth.  Sean Olenek (Mercer) led off the frame with a single to center.  Then, after a groundout, Marcus Semien (Cal-Berkeley) drove a double down the right-field line, plating the game tying run.  Mike O’Neill (USC) then drilled a 1-2 pitch off the glove of the first baseman for a base hit, bringing home the go-ahead run. In the seventh, Mankato threatened to tie the game, loading the bases with two out.  But, Handley was able to recover, striking out Larson to end the inning. Matt Miller (Michigan) tossed a perfect eighth, and Aaron Kurcz (Air Force) struck out two in the ninth, earning his sixth save in seven tries.

Brainerd 6 – Thunder Bay 3

With two outs, the Lunkers scored five times in the eighth inning to propel themselves to victory over the Thunder Bay Border Cats, 6-3 in Game Two at Port Arthur Stadium. Trailing 3-1 after seven innings, a one-out single by David Valesente (St. Joseph) started the rally. Then, back-to-back hits by Mike Martinez (Florida International) and Stephen Wickens (Florida Gulf Coast) set up a walk to Will Piwnica-Worms (Duke). Justin Gominsky (Minnesota) then cleared the bases with his double to the alley and T.J. Berge (Northern Colorado) followed with an RBI single. That offensive explosion carried the Lunkers to victory. Berge had a phenomenal night, leading the offense by reaching base five times, and going 4-for-4 with a double, three singles, and an RBI. Out of the bullpen, Ryan Hawthorne (Loyola Marymount) looked impressive. He surrendered one hit in two innings, and struck out five. He picked up the victory and Drew Smith (Barton CC) picked up his third save.

La Crosse 10 – Eau Claire 7

After falling down 5-0 early in Monday evening’s contest against the Eau Claire Express, the La Crosse Loggers came storming back with eight runs in the fifth inning to take a lead they would not relinquish, going on to become 10-7 winners at Carson Park in Eau Claire, Wisc. Host Eau Claire would score in three of the first four frames to take a 5-0 lead, but the tide would turn quickly in the fifth when the first six Logger batters reached safely.  After cutting the lead to 5-4, the bases were still loaded when catcher Rob Brantly (UC-Riverside) came to the plate and launched a grand slam to put the Lumbermen up 8-5.  La Crosse would tack on two more runs in the sixth and then Madison Boer (Oregon) would relieve starter Kyle Simon (Arizona) to secure the Logger victory. In the biggest offensive output of the season to-date, the Loggers pounded out 12 hits on the night with every member of the starting lineup collecting at least one safety. With the win the Loggers improved to 11-7 overall and moved within two games of division leaders Eau Claire and Madison.

Green Bay 6 – Madison 1

Green Bay bounced back from yesterday’s loss with a three-run seventh inning to even the series against the Madison Mallards on Monday night with a 6-1 victory at Jones Sign Field at Joannes Stadium. With a 3-1 lead, the Bullfrogs pushed the game out of reach in the seventh frame. Kyle Geason (UW-Milwaukee) and Aaron Conway (Missouri State) led off the inning with bunt-singles. John Semel (Chapman) then provided the knockout punch with a two-RBI single and would later score on Daniel Torrente’s (Missouri State) bases loaded RBI hit-by-pitch. Semel finished the night 2-for-5 with two runs scored, two RBI, and a stolen base. His running mate, Conway, continued his speedy play going 2-for-4 on the evening, including two runs scored and his 10th stolen base of the season – moving him into a tie for second in the Northwoods League. Brent Ebinger (Lambuth) earned his first win of the season pitching fiving innings and striking out four. Cody Winarski (MATC-Madison) took the loss for the Mallards giving up an earned run in one inning of work.

St. Cloud 6 – Rochester 5 (11 Inn.)

After eleven innings the St. Cloud River Bats were able to outlast Rochester 6-5 and end the Honkers winning streak at five games. Blake Cover (Nebraska-Kearney) delivered a walk-off RBI single off of Honkers closer Arik Sikula (Marshall) with two runners on in the bottom of the eleventh to end the game. Jared Jordan (New Mexico State) had started the inning for Rochester and took the loss to fall to 0-2. The win went to Andrew Burkett (Cincinnati) who pitched two shutout innings of relief for St. Cloud as he went to 1-0 on the year. Rochester is now 11-7, while St. Cloud moved to 6-12. Rochester scored the first run of the game on a solo home run by Corey Jones (Cal State Fullerton) in the second inning to take a 1-0 lead. For a few frames Honkers starter Phil Haig (Illinois) made that lead stand up in his season debut after missing the start of the year with a shoulder impingement, but, throwing on a pitch count as he works he way back from the injury, he would leave after the third inning. The Honkers then turned to Bret Mitchell (Iowa Central CC last year, transferring to Mankato State University next year), who was the days regularly scheduled starting pitcher. Mitchell struggled somewhat and gave up a run in the fourth, two in the fifth and another in the sixth inning as the Honkers fell behind 4-1 with just three innings to play. St. Cloud starter Nick Sutherland (Viterbo) was cruising after allowing the home run, but Rochester would get to him in the seventh. Drew Beuerlein (UNLV) would come home on a sacrifice fly by Danny Pulfer (Oregon), and Aaron Dunsmore (Dayton) scored two batters later on an RBI single by John Gianis (NC State) to make it 4-3 heading to the bottom of the seventh. St. Cloud pushed across another run on Mitchell in the bottom of the seventh to increase their lead to 5-3, but the Honkers would complete the rally in the eighth. Eric Marzec (Youngstown State) relieved Sutherland in the eighth for St. Cloud, and gave up an RBI double to Rance Roundy (UNLV) that scored Jones to make it 5-4, and P.J. Sequiera (Oral Roberts) brought Roundy home on a sacrifice fly to tie the game at 5-5. Neither team would score the rest of regulation as the game headed into extras, but tempers flared in the ninth inning as all three Rochester coaches shared words with St. Cloud field manager Marcus Clapp after the River Bats’ pitcher, Connor Lambert (Washington State) returned to the dugout briefly after finishing his warm up tosses before returning the mound to work the ninth. Lambert would eventually pitch the ninth for St. Cloud after things settled down, and shut down Rochester in the frame. St. Cloud kept the Honkers off the board for two more frames, and would eventually score to win it in the bottom the eleventh. Jared Jordan (New Mexico State) came on in relief in the eighth for Rochester and shut out St. Cloud for three innings, but the River Bats started the eleventh against him with a pair of softly hit singles. Rochester would then go to the bullpen to get closer Arik Sikula (Marshall), but the first batter he faced, Blake Cover (Nebraska-Kearney), poked a ball just inside the first base bag for an RBI single for the walk-off win.

Waterloo 3 – Wisconsin 1

It was a “Dodridge Dandy” for the home-standing Waterloo Bucks Monday night. Rick Dodridge, the left-hander from Central Michigan University, fired six and two-thirds innings of five-strikeout, three-hit ball to lead manager Pete Lauritson’s team to a 3-1 win over the Wisconsin Woodchucks. The victory moved the Bucks to 5-13 on the season and concluded their first series sweep of the year. Offensively, Waterloo was guided by an RBI double from designated hitter Josh Lyon (University of Indiana) and perfect evening at the plate for first baseman Ryan Rieger (University of Santa Clara) as he was one-for-one, scored twice and reached base three times. Wisconsin (6-11) was topped by a solo home run from third baseman Casey Rihm (University of South Carolina).

Battle Creek 10 – Duluth 3

The 6 game road trip ended on a high note on Monday, as the Battle Creek Bombers (12-6) defeated the Duluth Huskies (9-9) by the final 10-3. This was a very difficult road trip for the Bombers, which started with a 2 game sweep by Eau Claire. However, the Bombers rebounded with a sweep of Thunder Bay, and a split series against Duluth brought the Bombers to 3-3 on the trip. Monday’s game was a slugfest. The Bombers batted .474 last night, racking up 18 hits and 5 doubles. With 3 hit batsmen, 5 walks, and 1 error, the Bombers reached first base 27 times. Nick Campbell (Bryant) and Alan Denman (USC Sumter) led the offensive attack. Both went 4-5, combining for 3 doubles, 3 runs, and 3 RBIs. The Duluth Huskies also had a good night at the plate, getting 10 hits of their own. However, after tying the game with 3 runs in the fourth inning, the Huskies were kept off the scoreboard. The Bombers scored in the fifth, and then Bombers pitching took control of the game. The bullpen did an outstanding job holding on to the lead they were given, allowing only 3 hits and striking out 2 in the final 3.1 innings.