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NWL Roundup 7/7

Brainerd 8 – Eau Claire 6

The Lunkers lit up the lumber by pounding out ten hits, including three doubles, to complete the sweep of the Eau Claire Express, 8-6 at Mills Field. Like the night before, the Lunkers jumped out on the Express early. With one out, singles by Justin Gominsky (Minnesota) and Zack Stewart (Ohio Dominican) put two men on. Then, Shon Roe (Loyola Marymount) reached on an error, which also helped score the first run of the night. One hitter later, Will Piwnica-Worms (Duke) blasted a double to the gap to bring two men home. After the second, the Lunkers led, 4-0. In the third, they plated two more. A leadoff single by Andrew Gudmunson (North Dakota) was followed by a Hunter Nolen (Northern Colorado) ripped double to the left-center alley. Justin Gominsky followed with a double of his own to bring home the second run and extend the lead to six. The Lunkers added another in the fourth for good measure, but Eau Claire responded quickly. The Express brought home their first run of the night in the fifth, and followed up with a four-run sixth inning that featured nine hitters and five base knocks. One more run in the seventh pulled the Express within one. After seven innings, the Lunkers clung to a 7-6 advantage. However, the Eau Claire bats fell silent after that spark. A late run in the eighth gave the Lunkers some insurance. Drew Smith (Barton CC) entered in the ninth and shut down the Express for the second consecutive time to sustain the victory. Starter Dennis O’Grady (Duke) tossed six innings, allowed five runs on nine hits, walked two, and struck out three. O’Grady (pictured) picked up his fourth straight victory on the mound. In the box, Andrew Gudmunson and Justin Gominsky both had two hits apiece, and Shon Roe scored two runs to pace the offense.

Picture Credit: Brainerd Dispatch/Kelly Humphrey

Battle Creek 5 – Madison 0

Madison’s Cody Winiarski (MATC) and Battle Creek’s Matt Talley (The Citadel) each threw well enough to win, but Talley received the offensive support to get the victory and the Bombers earned the series split with a 5-0 win in front of 5,435 at the “Duck Pond” on Tuesday night. It was a pitcher’s dual in the midst of a scoreless tie heading into the seventh inning and Battle Creek’s Jimmy Tanner (USC Upstate) played spoiler, blasting his first home run of the season to lead his team to the win. Madison (3-1) struggled to string together a rally the entire game. The left-hander Talley was able to keep the potent Mallard offense off balance. The Bombers finally broke the scoreless affair in the seventh inning when Tanner went deep with a 3-run shot off Garrett Granitz (Azusa Pacific) who was making his Mallard debut. It was Tanner’s first long ball of the season and it couldn’t have come at a better time. For the Mallards in the fifth, Jacob Esch (Georgia Tech) laced a double just out of the reach of Battle Creek third baseman Doug Otto to put runners on second and third with two outs. Just as it seemed that the Mallards were putting together one of their patented rally’s, Talley got Tyson Blaser (Iowa) to ground out to second to end the inning. The Mallards, however, weren’t out of the woods yet. Three errors would follow Tanner’s blast and two more Bomber runs would cross the plate, until Brandon Johnson (Western Carolina), also making his Mallard debut, struck out Greg Annarummo (Elon) to finally end the inning. Battle Creek sent 10 batters to the plate and put a 5-spot on the scoreboard. In the eighth, Joe Van Meter (Virginia Commonwealth) relieved Talley and sat down the top of the Mallards’ lineup in order with a fastball that reached the mid-90’s. Talley scattered six hits and struck out four over seven innings of work to earn his fourth win of the year while Van Meter threw two scoreless innings to close it out for the Bombers. Winiarski got the no decision despite throwing six scoreless innings and lowering his ERA from 1.90 to 1.66 for the season. He scattered four hits and struck out four while walking five.

Duluth 9 – Thunder Bay 4

Duluth scored nine unanswered runs to knock off Thunder Bay 9-4 and end the Border Cats six game winning streak.  Todd Baumgartner (Arkansas St.) hit a two-run double breaking a 4-4 tie as the Huskies rallied for six runs in the eighth inning.  It was the only hit in the uprising as the Huskies took advantage of four walks, an error, and a wild pitch to even their record at 2-2.  Baumgartner had three of Duluth’s five hits.  Reliever Matt Patterson (Creighton) pitched three scoreless innings, striking out three, to improve his record to 3-0.  Luis Castillo (Bellevue) took the loss for Thunder Bay to fall to 1-1.  Derek Hamblen (Belmont), Aaron Munoz Gateway CC), and David Phillips (Ole Miss) all collected two hits for Thunder Bay (3-1).

Mankato 6 – Green Bay 5

Chris Schaeffer hit a moon shot over the left-field wall, but it wasn’t enough as Mankato capitalized on Green Bay’s pitching for a 6-5 win at Jones Sign Field at Joannes Stadium on Tuesday night. Mankato (2-2) took advantage of five Green Bay (2-2) wild pitches to score six runs through the first five innings. On the offensive side, the Bullfrogs were unable to get the bats going until the eighth frame after falling behind by four runs early on. Schaeffer (North Carolina State) fouled off seven pitches in his at-bat during the eighth before hitting a towering two-run moon shot over the left-field wall. It was his first homer of the season and 11th for Green Bay. Ryan Durant (Iowa) led Mankato going 2-for-5 to go along with a RBI. Six Moondogs reached base by way of a single and KC Serna (Oregon) stole two bases on the night. Green Bay was led by Collin Kuhn (Arkansas) who went 2-for-4 at the plate with a run scored and a double. Five other Bullfrogs tacked on a hit, while Jared Andreoli (Western Kentucky) and Nick O’Shea (Minnesota) took a base. Bennett Whitmore (Oregon) earned the win after throwing 7.1 innings on the mound. He scattered seven hits and allowed five runs – three earned – to go along with his seven strikeouts.

Waterloo 3 – La Crosse 0

Waterloo Bucks’ starting pitcher C.J. Rose (Jefferson C.C.) made sure he made the most of his first start in the Northwoods League. Rose, combining with Tim Ryan (Minnesota) and Zach Cooper (Central Michigan), helped lift the Blue, Gold and White to a 3-0 win over the LaCrosse Loggers. He threw seven innings of three-hit ball and struck out six before Ryan and Cooper cleaned up the final two frames. Cooper garnered his first save. The victory evened Waterloo’s record to 2-2 in the second half and earned them a series split with the Loggers. Field manager Pete Lauritson’s squad moved to 12-25 overall. LaCrosse (2-2, 23-15) managed only four hits for the game. Waterloo’s offense was buoyed by catcher Josh Lyon (Indiana) who ended with a double and an RBI.

St. Cloud 5 – Wisconsin 4 (14 Inn.)

The Saint Cloud River Bats (3-1, 16-22) used 14 innings to topple the Wisconsin Woodchucks (0-4, 13-25) 5-4 at Joe Faber Field. The Bats have now put together a season-best three-game winning streak and sit just a half game out of first place behind Rochester in the North Division. Zac Richard (Xavier) stroked a single with the bases loaded and two down in the 14th to bring in Jonathan Roof (Michigan State) from third base. The game had been tied at four since a Jeremey Richter (Stevens Point) RBI single in the sixth inning. Matt Summers (UC Irvine) earned the win in relief. The right-hander (1-0) struck out two over three innings of scoreless relief. The Bats sent 10 men to the plate in the first inning off starter Bryce Butt (Ohio). Danny Oh (Cal) and Richard contributed RBI singles in the frame. Butt recovered to toss 8.2 innings and got the no decision. Kurtis Frymier (Michigan State) started for St. Cloud and went the first six innings, allowing four runs on four hits. Richard, Summers and Matt Fanelli (Washington State) all collected two hits.