NWL Roundup 6/29

Mankato 6 – Eau Claire 3

Sunday night the Eau Claire Express clinched the South Division title.  Monday night the Mankato Moondogs (Pictured) were looking to do the same thing for the North Division.  The Moondogs were successful as they defeated the Express 6-3. Injuries and players leaving for summer school have left the Express rather shorthanded in the pitching staff.  Ian Campbell (Yavapai) has been used mostly as the Express set-up man this season. Monday night though, he was asked to eat up innings making his first start of the season. Campbell worked through 5.2 innings but struggled with walks on the night.  In fact, all Express pitchers struggled with walks on the night.  The pitching staff walked a total of 15 batters and also hit two Moondog battters. The Express offense also struggled to come up with some key hits in the game.  The turning point was in the bottom of the fourth inning when the Express had runners on first and third with nobody out.  But Mankato starter Tim Griffen (Rollins) was able to get a couple of strikeouts to keep the Express off the board. The Moondogs then carried that momentum and put up three runs in the top of the fifth inning.  Griffen tossed six scoreless innings to pick up the win and lower his ERA to 0.93 on the year. A.J. Petterson (Minnesota) led Mankato with two hits and three walks and scored three runs. Robbie Knight (Creighton), Dominic Piazza (Yavapai) and Bobby Rinard (Yavapai) led the offense with two hits a piece.  The Express actually outhit the Moondogs 10-7 but were hurt by the walks all night. Tuesday night’s game will feature the two first half division winners.  Both teams have little to play for in the first half, but the team with the best overall record at the end of the season gets to choose which playoff game to host.  So every game certainly counts as the season progresses. 

Alexandria 5 – Duluth 2

He just might earn the nickname “spot-start Siwiec.”  With another excellent outing, Austen Siwiec (Valparaiso) moved to a team-best 4-0 as the Beetles downed the Duluth Huskies 5-2.  Kendall Wehrle (Arkansas) took the loss for Duluth, going six innings while allowing four runs on ten hits.  Brendan Alvey (Navarro JC) picked up his first save of the year, tossing the final two innings of the game. The scoring started in the second inning as Alexandria jumped out to an early 2-0 lead.  Back-to-back doubles by Wes Patterson (UT-Martin) and Jayson Langfels (Eastern Kentucky) led to a run.  A wild pitch would bring in another.  In the third, a lead-off double by Vance Albitz (UC-san Diego) lead to another Beetles run, as Tim Roberson (FGCU) drove in the first of two runs on the night with a base hit to right field.  The Beetles would get their lead-off man on in seven of their eight innings; four of them scored. Meanwhile, Siwiec was mowing down the Huskies.  Through five innings, Siwiec had a two-hit shutout with four strikeouts. In the sixth, the Huskies spoiled the shutout bid, stringing together three straight singles to plate their first run of the game. Both teams would exchange runs late, but a double play turned by Langfels at third base thwarted a late surge by Duluth.

La Crosse 5 – Waterloo 2

The La Crosse Loggers won their third consecutive game on Monday night by defeating the Waterloo Bucks 5-2 at Riverfront Stadium in Waterloo, Iowa. The Logger bats once again pounded out double-digit hits, this time generating the five runs on 12 safeties.  Greg Holt led the way with three hits, including his second home run of the season. Holt also scored two runs, drove in two and pitched a scoreless ninth to record the save. Chris Engell continued swinging a hot bat as well, recording three hits of his own. Loggers starter Pete Woodworth battled through trouble early in the game, but picked up the victory after limiting Waterloo to just two runs on two hits while striking out five over six innings. Waterloo (10-20) stranded 10 runners on base during the evening. The Bucks offense was topped by first baseman Ryan Rieger (Santa Clara) who reached base twice and scored a run.

Rochester 3 – Brainerd 1

It was a nail-biter right until the end, but a balk call allowed the go-ahead run to walk home in the ninth and the Honkers held on for a 3-1 win over Brainerd. Jay Johnson (Prairie Baseball Academy) earned the win in relief to move to 1-1, while Mike Frongello (Davidson) took the loss and fell to 1-2. Rochester is now 17-12 while the Lunkers fall to 14-16. Both starters looked excellent early, but someone has to score first and Brainerd struck with a run in the bottom of the third inning against Bret Mitchell (Minnesota State Mankato). Dennis O’Grady (Duke) delivered a one out single and two batters later he came home on an RBI groundout by Andrew Gudmunsend (North Dakota). But Rochester answered back immediately, pushing across a run against Lunkers’ starter Michael Gedman (UMass) when Danny Brock (St. Louis) led off the inning with a double and scored two batters later on a single by John Tommasini (Oregon State) to even the score at 1-1. Neither team would manage to score again until the ninth, although both certainly had opportunities. Mitchell completed six strong innings for the Honkers allowing just the one run before giving way to Jay Johnson (Prairie Baseball Academy) who allowed just a single hit pitching two strong innings. Gedman, meanwhile, pitched eight innings allowing just the single run and striking out seven, but the bullpen couldn’t hold on. Mike Frongello (Davidson) came on in the ninth, and Mitch Karraker (Oregon) led off with a double for Rochester. William Arnold (Central Michigan) laid down a sacrifice bunt to move him to third, and Brainerd then, interestingly, elected to intentionally walk NWL home run leader Corey Jones (Cal State Fullerton) to get to NWL leading hitter Rance Roundy (UNLV). The decision ended up not mattering, as the go ahead run came home without the ball being put in play when Frongello was called for a balk in an attempt to pick off Jones to advance the runners and make it 2-1 Rochester. Rochester ended up scoring another run on an error before the inning ended and enter the ninth ahead 3-1. Arik Sikula (Marshall) pitched a scoreless ninth to earn his seventh save. Jones led the Honkers offense, going 4-for-4 on the game while Brock, Karraker and P.J. Sequeira all added two hits. Stephen Wickens (Florida Gulf Coast) was the only Lunkers batter with multiple hits.

St. Cloud 10 – Thunder Bay 2

Tony Renda (Cal-Berkeley) collected five hits and Kurtis Frymier (Michigan State) tossed a complete game gem as the St. Cloud River Bats (13-18) defeated the Thunder Bay Border Cats (6-25) 10-2 at Port Arthur Stadium. Frymier (2-2) struck out eight batters and allowed just six hits to earn his second win in three starts. Renda doubled twice, knocked in two and scored three times for the Bats. The Bats amassed a season-high hits en route to their second double-digit run output in three tries. Zac Richard (Xavier) finished 3-for-5 with two doubles and two runs scored for St. Cloud. Matt Robertson (Barton C.C.) got the loss allowing seven runs, six earned, on nine hits over 3.1 innings of work. Adam Weisenburger (Miami of Ohio) hit a solo home run in the seventh inning for the River Bats, the first in his NWL career.

Battle Creek 7 – Green Bay 5

The Bullfrogs gave the Bombers a scare in the eighth, but Battle Creek was able to hold on for a 7-5 victory. The Bullfrogs jumped ahead in the first, scoring two runs on three hits. But Battle Creek starter Josh McElwee (Newberry) settled down, retiring three straight batters in four of the next six innings. McElwee ended the night with nine strikeouts, the most by a Bombers pitcher in a single game this season. McElwee leads the team with 44 strikeouts, and has the second highest strikeout total in the league. The Bombers began to chip away at the Bullfrogs’ lead in the third inning, when Greg Annarummo (Elon) led the inning off with a double and came around to score on a sacrifice fly. In the fourth, the Bombers took the lead on a two-RBI single by Matt Miraldi (Cal State LA). The Bombers scored two more runs in the fifth and seventh innings, pushing the lead to 7-2. Jimmy Tanner (USC Upstate) led the Bombers offense, going 3-for-4 with two singles, a double, two runs scored, and two RBI. The Bullfrogs closed the gap in the eighth, batting around and scoring three runs. Sam VandenHeuvel (Rhode Island) got things started with a leadoff walk, and back-to-back singles knocked McElwee out of the game. The Bullfrogs continued to claw back, as two more singles and a hit batsman brought in two more runs. With the go-ahead run at first base, the Bombers were forced to call on closer R.J. Hively (Cal State Fullerton), who showed why he was an All-Star last year. Hively retired all four batters he faced, striking out two and recording his fifth save of the season.

Wisconsin 2 – Madison 1

Bryce Butt (Ohio) scattered five hits and allowed just one run as he picked up the complete game victory Monday night as the Wisconsin Woodchucks defeated the Madison Mallards by a final score of 2-1. After missing out on an opportunity to score in the top of the first, the Woodchucks (11-20) came through in the bottom of the third inning as Chad Wright (Kentucky) and Kale Kiser (Nebraska) scored to give the Woodchucks a 2-0 lead. The Mallards (18-13) finally got to Butt in the sixth inning, scoring one run on a walk and three hits. However, Butt got some help from his defense when Brett Krill (UCLA) nailed would be tying run Joe Patterson at the plate for the final out of the inning. It was all Butt from there, as he went the distance and picked up his second victory of the season while seeing his ERA shift to .85. Butt finished the game with 16 groundball outs compared to just two flyball outs. Jacob Esch took the loss for the Mallards after allowing two runs on three hits while striking out seven in six innings of work. Kiser and Wright each recorded a run and a hit in the victory. The Mallards got a single and an RBI from Joe De Pinto in a game that was dominated by pitching.