Eau Claire 2 – Madison 1
The Eau Claire Express and the Madison Mallards have battled for first place all season long. Saturday night the two teams met for the first time this season and the Express took game one 2-1. It was a perfect night for a baseball game and it showed with a great crowd that came out to watch the first place battle. Coming into the game, the Mallards led the Express by a half-game in the standings but the Express had the better winning percentage putting them in first place. Jon Ringenberg (Baylor) is the every day first baseman for the Express, but made his second start on the mound Saturday night. Ringenberg was fantastic in the game and earned his first victory of the season. Ringenberg gave up a run in the first inning, but did not look back after that. He pitched eight innings, allowing one run, four hits and striking out six. In the ninth it was closer Devan Kline that came on to seal the victory for the Express. Kline faced the minimum in the ninth and struck out two batters to earn his ninth save of the season. The victory put the Express a half game up on the Mallards and in sole possession of first place. The two teams will meet again Sunday night in the final game of the series.
Battle Creek 5 – St. Cloud 2
Timely hitting lifted the Battle Creek Bombers over the St. Cloud River Bats tonight, the final score 5-2. Tonight’s victory came in front of a crowd of 1,933, the fifth largest crowd in Battle Creek Bombers history. Second baseman Greg Fujii (San Jose City College) got the offense started with a single in the third, scoring on an errant throw by River Bats’ catcher Adam Weiseburger (Miami of Ohio) to tie the game at 1-1. Chris Lewis (Western Michigan) led off the next inning with a home run that easily cleared the right field wall, his 3rd home run of the season. Later that inning, Greg Fujii hit a sac fly to left, scoring first baseman Josh Valle (Marshall) and give the Bombers a 3-1 lead. The Bombers added 2 more insurance runs in the sixth, providing the defense with more than enough run support. The River Bats tried to get a rally going in the ninth, hitting back-to-back 1-out singles. But after a wild pitch allowed 1 run, reliever Josh McElwee (Newberry College) forced the next two batters to ground out to secure the victory. Both pitching staffs did an excellent job tonight. Bombers’ starter James Jones (John A. Logan) allowed 1 run on 5 hits in 8 innings, striking out 4 and improving his record to 3-0. Jones has an ERA of 0.64, and has allowed only 20 hits in 28.1 innings of work this season. River Bats starter Pedro Ramos (Glendale C.C.) surrendered 2 earned runs in 6 innings, retiring the Bombers in order in the first, second, and fifth innings.
La Crosse 5 – Wisconsin 4
It took ten innings but the Loggers were able to defeat the Woodchucks 5-4 Saturday night at Copeland Park. Two Logger errors in the second inning led to a Woodchucks run on an RBI single by Chris Slater (Baylor). But in the bottom of the inning Aaron Gates (Pepperdine) was able to tie the game off of his RBI. The tie was broken in the top of the fifth when Mike Marshall (Stanford) hit a two-run home run off of starting pitcher Madison Boer (Oregon). The Loggers were able to tie the game on a sacrifice fly by Rob Brantly (UC-Riverside) and eventually took the lead later in the inning on a go-ahead double by Morgan Mickan (Texas). But on the first pitch of the ninth inning Joey Hainsfurther (Baylor) hit a monster shot which tied the game up for the Woodchucks and sent the game into extra innings. Once it got to extras it didnt take long to complete as the Loggers were able to capture the win with two outs on an infield error which would score Brantly from third. Brantly had a solid night for La Crosse going 3-4 with an RBI and two runs scored and Brandon Meredith (San Diego St.) also stayed hot going 2-5 with a run scored. Pitcher Jordan McClintick (Loyola Marymount) picked up his first in of the season and Jeremy Brewer moves his record to 2-2 after picking up the loss.
Green Bay 5 – Waterloo 2
Riley Henricks went deep again, this time hitting a three-run game-winning home run tin the eighth inning to give Green Bay a come from behind victory over Waterloo, 5-2, inside Riverfront Stadium on Saturday evening. Henricks (Portland) may be small and unassuming, but he has used every ounce of power in his bat for the third-consecutive game sending the ball deep over the outfield wall. Green Bay (10-12) could not figure out Waterloo (7-16) starting pitcher Rick Dodridge (Central Michigan) through the first five innings, as he allowed only one hit. The Bullfrogs turned things around in the sixth inning tacking a run on the board, before adding four runs in the eighth and ninth frames.
Henricks led the Bullfrogs at the plate going 1-for-4 with three RBI and a run scored. Jared Andreoli (Western Kentucky) recorded a pair of hits, while Sam VandenHeuvel (Rhode Island) scored twice. Christian Griffiths (Stanford) scored the first run of the game to give Waterloo a 1-0 advantage in the second inning. He reached on a fielder’s choice, advanced to second on a balk, moved to third on a wild pitch, and crossed the plate on Phil Keppler’s (Iowa) single up the middle. The Bucks’ Willie Argo (Illinois) smacked a triple to right field before scoring on a single by Michael Giller (Illinois) giving Waterloo a 2-0 lead in the third frame. It took until the sixth inning before the Bullfrogs marked the scoreboard when Aaron Conway (Missouri State) hit a sacrifice fly to right field scoring Sam VandenHeuvel (Rhode Island). The Bullfrogs tacked on an insurance run in the final frame when pitcher Tim Jolly (La Verne) pinch ran and scored on Joel Hutter’s (Des Moines Area CC) single to right field. Henricks now leads the team with three long balls and has moved into second place in the Northwoods League. Alex Schmarzo (Saint Mary’s) earned the victory for Green Bay out of the bullpen pitching one inning. Bullfrogs’ starter Chuck Lukanen (Northern Illinois) picked up a no decision in six innings of work striking out five and allowing a pair of runs and walks. Dodridge was tagged with the loss for Waterloo after tossing 7.2 innings on the mound, while striking out four and giving up three runs.
Alexandria 9 – Thunder Bay 2
Just three hours before first pitch in Thunder Bay, Austen Siwiec (Valparaiso) found out he was the night’s starting pitcher. Five innings later, and the second-year right-hander earned his third win of the season, as the Beetles pounded Thunder Bay 9-2. Colin Bear (Northwestern State), one start removed from a complete game victory over Brainerd, went five plus innings in the losing effort. The lefty gave up seven hits and six runs (all earned) while walking two and striking out four. Alexandria got on the board early, picking up four runs in the fourth. Tim Roberson (FGCU) hit his first homer of the season, a two-run blast over the left field wall. In the sixth, the Beetles added three more runs, two on a Chase Porch (North Alabama) triple. After Thunder Bay answered with a run in the bottom of the sixth, the Beetles responded with two more runs in the eighth. Mike O’Neill (USC), in his first game at Port Arthur Stadium since winning the 2008 NWL title, walked and later scored on a wild pitch. Roberson added in another RBI with a base hit laced up the middle, plating Vance Albitz (UC-San Diego). The run support was plenty for the pitching staff. Siwiec went the first five, walking three and giving up just two hits. Tyler McKendree (Flagler) gave up two runs in his two innings of relief, and Matt Fyffe (Eastern Kentucky) tossed a perfect eighth, before Kevin Vangheluwe (Michigan) closed the door in the ninth.
Rochester 6 – Brainerd 3
Brainerd scored first, but the Honkers would answer quickly with three home runs on Saturday night to take the series opener from the Lunkers 6-3 and snap a three-game losing streak. Drew Bowen (Oral Roberts) pitched well on his 20th birthday for the Honkers, and earned the win to go 2-0 on the year in six strong innings of work. The Honkers are now 12-9 while Brainerd is 12-11. The teams exchanged scoreless frames for the first three innings before the Lunkers pushed across all three of their runs in the top of the fourth inning. A pair of walks and singles, as well as an error allowed the runs to score (two were earned) to give Brainerd a 3-0 lead. But the Honkers didn’t waste any time coming back, and scored four runs to take the lead for good in the bottom half of the inning. After Rance Roundy (UNLV) led off the inning with a deep home run to left, Danny Brock (St. Louis) delivered the big blow with a three run shot over the wall in right to put the Honkers up 4-3. Joey Van Cleave (Santa Rosa JC) would be chased after the homer, and take the loss to fall to 0-4 on the year after he lasted just 3.2 innings. But the Honkers weren’t done, as Drew Beuerlein (UNLV) padded the lead with a solid two-run homer to left in the next half inning to make the score 6-3, where it would stay the rest of the game. Things did get close in the eighth when Brainerd managed to load the bases against Lucas O’Rear (Northern Iowa) with nobody out for the Honkers turned to close Arik Sikula (Marshall) to try and get the six-out save. Sikula picked up a strikeout to get the first out before getting Mike Martinez (Florida International) to bounce into a 6-4-3 double play to end the threat. Sikula stayed on turned in a quiet ninth to complete the win and earn his fifth save of the season. Beuerlein had the best day at the plate for Rochester, going 2-for-4 with a run and two RBI, while Danny Brock had three RBI with the homer, his only hit of the game. Martinez, despite hitting into the double play, paced the Lunkers offense going 2-for-4 with a run and a RBI.
Mankato 5 – Duluth 3
It was just another night, another win and two more key contributors for the Mankato MoonDogs. Saturday, it was AJ Pettersen and John Brebbia, as Pettersen recorded three hits and Brebbia pitched out of a jam in the seventh to record his first save and leading the MoonDogs past Duluth 5-3 at Franklin Rogers Park. Pettersen (Minnesota) had his best game of the season, as the Golden Gopher slapped out three hits, scored a run and provided a clutch, perfectly executed safety squeeze single in the eighth inning. Pettersen raised his average a whopping 143 points, as he is now hitting .294 on the season. Brebbia (Elon) earned his first save of season by pitching 2.2 innings of near-perfect baseball. Brebbia entered the game with the MoonDogs clinging to a 4-3 lead, runners at second and third for Duluth (11-12) and one out. He responded by striking out the next two hitters, eventually finishing the game with five strikeouts and allowing just one hit. It was yet another quick start for the MoonDogs (16-7), as they put up a four-spot in the first inning and now have outscored opponents 14-6 in their first at-bat. Two big plays in the frame propelled the Dogs to the lead. With the bases loaded and one out, Jimmy Patterson (Central Arizona) chopped a soft ground ball to third baseman Andy Burns (Kentucky). Burns tried to nab Pettersen at home but rifled the ball over catcher Doug Joyce’s (Florida International) head, allowing Pettersen and Ryan Durant (Iowa) to score to make it a 2-0 game. The other came the next at-bat as Kyle Knudson (Minnesota) singled in Danny Miller (Minnesota State) from third. Knudson rounded first too aggressively and was caught in a rundown, but after four tosses, shortstop Zach Walters (San Diego) threw the ball into left field, allowing Patterson to score for a 4-0 MoonDog lead. The win was the MoonDog’s fourth straight, marking their third, four-game win streak of the season. The win also secured a perfect record of 13-0 leading after the seventh inning. Three other MoonDogs also had multiple hits as Knudson, Tony Strazzara (San Diego) and KC Serna (Oregon) all had two. Duluth also had four players of its own with multiple hits. Burns, Joyce, Nathan Melendres (Miami) and Jericho Weitzel (Florida) all had two hits. Zach Whitman (Georgia Southwestern) picked up his second win of the season (2-1), striking out four in 5.2 innings. RJ Fondon (Florida International) fell to 1-1 for the Huskies, allowing just one earned run and settling down to shutout the Dogs after the rocky first inning.