Mankato 7 – Alexandria 6
Sunday’s pivotal division game between Alexandria and Mankato started with a triple play in the first inning, and that was just the beginning of the madness. In a game with several quirky plays and controversial calls, the MoonDogs found a way to win. Despite having just three hits and trailing by four runs heading into the ninth, the MoonDogs put up five runs for a 7-6 victory at Franklin Rogers Park. The MoonDogs magic number for a first half North Division crown was trimmed down to one, as they sit three and one-half games ahead of Rochester with four games to play. A crazy ninth started with KC Serna (Oregon) and Danny Miller (Minnesota State) singling and walking respectively, before Jimmy Patterson (Central Arizona) brought home the first run with a single. Brenden Webb (Palomar) walked to load the bases, and Tony Strazzara fisted a two-strike pitch from Matt Miller (Michigan) into right for a two-run single and a one-run deficit. Ryan Durant (Iowa) then bunted Webb and Strazzara into scoring position, as Matt Miller tried to get Webb at third, but threw late, filling the bases with nobody out. Xorge Carillo (Central Arizona) came up with the infield drawn in, and chopped a ball to first. Webb was retired at the plate but caught the leg of Trevor Edwards (UNC Greensboro) as his throw sailed into right, allowing Strazzara and Durant to score with the tying and winning runs, setting off a wild celebration at home plate. It was the first win for the MoonDogs trailing after eight innings as they have now won six straight at Franklin Rogers Park. Alexandria nearly doubled the MoonDogs in the hit column, but still left town without a victory. Vance Albitz (UC-San Diego) posted three RBI, Tim Roberson (FGCU) belted a two-run home run and Diego Fon (Arizona) was a perfect 3-3 for the Beetles offense. The only MoonDog with multiple hits was Webb, with two. Chris Garrison (Oregon) picked up his first win (1-0) for the Dogs, throwing the ninth inning and allowing one run on one hit. Matt Miller pitched the whole catastrophic ninth for the Beetles, falling to 1-1 by allowing five runs, three of which were earned, and walking two. A night after the league saw its seventh cycle, the MoonDogs turned the second triple the league has seen this summer. With runners on first and second, pitcher Jake Petricka (Indiana State) caught a bunt from Vance Albitz (UC San Diego) in front of home plate. Both runners, confused on whether the ball was caught in the air, both tried to advance, as the MoonDogs turned a relatively easy 1-3-6 triple play. Heading into the fifth scoreless, two-out hits from Alvarez and Albitz in the fifth accounted for three Beetle runs, while the MoonDogs used errors and wild pitches to score two. After Patterson scored on a throwing error by the shortstop, Strazzara moved all the way around the bases on three wild pitches to the same batter by Tyler Mills (Michigan) to cut the score to 3-2. Before the big MoonDog rally, Roberson hit his two-run bomb to left in the eighth, and Albitz posted an RBI single in the ninth to put the Beetles up 6-2.
Eau Claire 10 – Green Bay 2
Nothing went right for Green Bay on Sunday afternoon as it committed numerous errors to fall, 10-2, to the Eau Claire Express at Jones Sign Field at Joannes Stadium. The Eau Claire win combined with losses by Madison and Battle Creek clinches the South Divison first half title for the Express giving them a spot in the NWL playoffs in August. Eau Claire (20-9) blew the game wide open in the second frame with six runs on five hits. The Green Bay (13-16) defense didn’t help itself as it had three of its seven errors on the night in the inning. The Express added four insurance runs in the fifth through ninth innings. The Bullfrogs finally connected on a few pitches in the seventh frame with three-consecutive singles, scoring Joel Hutter (Des Moines Area CC) and Daniel Torrente (Missouri State) in the process. Matt Fritz (Bradley) had three hits, three RBI, and two runs scored to lead the Express, while three other Eau Claire batters added two hits apiece. Jared Andreoli (Western Kentucky) and Daniel Torrente (Missouri State) each tallied a pair of hits for Green Bay. Torrente recorded the Bullfrogs only extra base knock with a double off the center-field wall in the fifth inning. Trent Blank (Baylor) earned the victory for Eau Claire after tossing seven innings, giving up seven hits and a pair of runs, while striking out five. Tim Jolly (La Verne) was credited with the loss after allowing six runs – four earned – and five hits. He also walked a batter and hit two, to go along with one strikeout in 1.2 innings on the hill for the Bullfrogs.
Duluth 12 – St. Cloud 3
A night after winning 12-0, the St. Cloud River Bats (12-18) fell 12-3 to the Duluth Huskies (13-16) in front of 1,515 fans at Joe Faber Field. Nick Sutherland (Viterbo) (2-1) got the loss for the Bats, allowing nine runs, eight earned, on eight hits over four innings of work. The Huskies plated two runs in the first, five runs in the second and a run in the third inning of the right-hander. RJ Fondon (Florida Int’l) picked up the victory for Duluth with six solid innings. Zac Richard (Xavier) led the Bats offensively with two hits, including a double. Jared Womack (Oklahoma State) led the Huskies, swatting two home runs, a double and scoring three runs in the cleanup spot. Andy Burns (Kentucky) hit a grand slam off Sutherland in the second inning to break the game open at 7-1.
Rochester 6 – Thunder Bay 4
The game began as a pitcher’s duel, but the Honkers came out on top with a late offensive explosion to earn a 6-4 win and complete the series sweep over Thunder Bay. NWL home run leader Corey Jones (Cal State Fullerton) delivered the big hit—a pinch-hit, three-run, go-ahead homer in the eighth—and the Honkers moved to 16-12 with the win. Thunder Bay fell to 6-24. The teams exchanged a pair of unearned runs in the first inning before both starters settled in. Zach Robertson (Iowa) for Rochester and Miguel Valcarcel (St. John’s (NY)) for Thunder Bay both put up zeros until the fourth inning, when the Honkers pushed across a run on an RBI single by Mitch Karraker (Oregon) to take a 2-1 lead. But Thunder Bay would tie it back up in the sixth inning on a leadoff home run by Adam Courcha (New Mexico) to make the score 2-2. Robertson would recover to get through the rest of the inning preserving the tie, but the Border Cats would chase him in the seventh. The inning started with a single, a walk and a single for the Cats before Rochester went to the bullpen for Scott McGough (Oregon). McGough managed to get a strikeout of Chris Marlowe (Navarro College) for the first out, but Cameron Smith (New Mexico) came through with a two run single to put Thunder Bay ahead 4-2 with just two innings to play. But Rochester wouldn’t stay down long, and bounced back quickly in the top of the eighth. Rance Roundy (UNLV) led of the inning with a double, and Danny Brock (St. Louis) followed with an RBI single to make it 4-3 and chase Valcarcel from the game. Matthew Singer (Seton Hall) got one out before giving up a single to Drew Beuerlein (UNLV) to put the go-ahead run on base. Jones pinch hit for Danny Pulfer (Oregon) two batters later with two outs, and connected on his seventh homer of the season to give the Honkers a 6-4 lead and cap the night’s scoring. McGough pitched a shutout eighth and earned the win to go to 1-1 while Arik Sikula (Marshall) held the Cats to just a walk in the ninth to earn his sixth save. The loss was charged to Singer who allowed two runs (as well as two inherited runs) in his inning to fall to 1-2. Jones had three RBI for Rochester with the 1-for-1 performance, and Beuerlein finished 3-for-4 with two runs scored. Courcha led the Cats’ attack with a 2-for-4 night with a RBI and two runs scored.
La Crosse 4 – Battle Creek 3
Another late-innings rally for the La Crosse Loggers helped them defeat the Battle Creek Bombers, 4-3. The Bombers held a 1-0 lead through six, but the Loggers evened things up in the seventh and took the lead in the eighth. The Bombers loaded the bases in the ninth, but Tony Mueller (Winona State) struck out Parker Berberet (Cypress) to close-out the game. The game began as a pitcher’s duel, and it looked like Loggers starter Kyle Simon (Arizona) would go the distance. In eight plus innings of work Simon held the Bombers to two runs on seven hits, and he did an excellent job forcing Bombers hitters to put the ball on the ground. Eddie Sipple (Florida Southern) also had a good outing, allowing only one run on seven hits through seven innings. The Bombers struck first in the fifth inning, as Alan Denman (USC Sumter) scored on a two-out single by Nick Campbell (Bryant). The Bombers almost scored another run in the fifth, but right fielder Justin Prekajlo (North Florida) gunned down Matt Miraldi (Cal State L.A.) at the plate. The Loggers got the comeback started in the seventh with a lead-off single. Two batters later, Chris Engell (San Diego) tied the game up with an RBI single. In the eighth, the Loggers scored two runs with two outs, the go-ahead run coming on a single by first basemen Greg Holt (North Carolina). The Loggers added another run in the ninth, and that would end up the difference maker. The Bombers led off the ninth inning with a walk and two singles. After a hit-batsman and a walk the Bombers were down one run and the bases were loaded. However, Tony Mueller was able to strike out Parker Berberet to close-out the game, earning his first save of the season.
Brainerd 7 – Madison 4
In their five previous chances, the Lunkers fell short of winning in Wisconsin. That all changed with their 7-4 victory over the Madison Mallards though, in Game Two of their series at Warner Park. The Lunkers catapulted to the victory behind a six-run sixth inning that looked awfully similar to the inning the Mallards used to claim the victory last night. Taylor Babich (Rhodes College) picked up his third victory of the season, and T.J Berge (Northern Colorado) and Will Piwnica-Worms (Duke) each had two hits at the plate to lead the offense.
Wisconsin 5 – Waterloo 2
The Wisconsin Woodchucks scored three runs with two outs in the bottom of the eighth inning to break a 2-2 tie as they went on to defeat the Waterloo Bucks 5-2 Sunday evening. It was a sloppy game early on, as each team traded runs and errors. The ‘Chucks scored an unearned run in the bottom of the third to take a 1-0 lead, however they gave that run right back on a defensive miscue in the top of the fourth to even things up at 1-1. The ‘Chucks regained the lead in the bottom of the fourth, as they tallied another unearned run on a bad throw by Frazier Hall which allowed Troy Frazier (Kentucky) to score. In the sixth inning, the Bucks took advantage of another Woodchucks error as they were able to push across the tying run to square things at 2-2. Things were tied until the bottom of the eighth inning when new Woodchuck Travis Whitmore (Pittsburgh) hit a one-out double. After advancing to third on a groundout by Frazier, Casey Rihn (South Carolina) hit a bunt single to drive in Whitmore and advanced to second on a throwing error. Carson Vitale (Creighton) and Jeremy Richter (UW-Stevens Point) followed with back-to-back doubles to extend the lead to the eventual 5-2 final score. Anthony Drobnick (Washington State) recorded the victory in relief of Kyle Gumieny (Southeast Missour State). Gumieny put forth a solid effort, allowing just two runs (none earned) on five hits while striking out five and walking none. Bryce Shafer (Valporaiso) was credited with the save. Chris Pack took the loss after allowing five runs (one earned) on 11 hits. Rihn led the way offensively, finishing the day 3-for-3 as they bottom five hitters in the ‘Chucks order combined to go 10-for-17 in the contest. Willie Argo finished 1-for-4 and scored a pair of runs in the loss for the Bucks.