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NWL Roundup 7/10

La Crosse 4 – St. Cloud 3

The La Crosse Loggers defeated the St. Cloud River Bats 4-3 Friday night in front of 3,752 fans at Copeland Park which was the biggest crowd La Crosse has seen this year. St. Cloud starting things off early as they took a 2-0 lead on a two RBI double by Danny Oh (California) in the top of the second but La Crosse would even things up in the bottom half of the inning courtesy of an RBI single by Brandon Meredith (San Diego St.) and Nick Baligod (Oral Roberts) scoring on a wild pitch.  In the bottom of the third the Loggers would pick up two more runs to take the 4-2 lead due to two more wild pitches after St. Cloud had two wild pitches and a passed ball the previous inning.  St. Cloud was able to cut the lead to one in the top of the sixth on an RBI single by Zac Richard (Xavier) but that’s as close as they would come to making the comeback.  In the top of the ninth, Loggers pitcher Greg Holt (UNC) came in and worked a perfect inning striking out two of the three batters to earn the save and ensure the victory for La Crosse. Brandon Meredith and Robert Abel both went 1-4 with an RBI on the night for La Crosse to lead the way statistically.  Loggers starting pitcher Madison Boer picked up his second win of the season going seven innings allowing six hits and three runs.  Boer only struck out two batters but calmed down nicely after the second inning and pitched really well until being relieved in the eighth inning by Andrew McKirihan (Texas) who picked up a hold after pitching a scoreless eighth.

Rochester 6 – Thunder Bay 3

Thunder Bay brought the tying run to the plate in the ninth inning, but the Honkers turned to their closer Arik Sikula (Marshall) to escape the jam and he induced a game-ending double play on the first pitch he threw to seal the 6-3 victory and earn his 12th save. Brian Flynn (Wichita State) pitched 6.2 strong innings to earn his fourth win for the Honkers, and Aaron Dunsmore (Dayton) added his fourth homer of the season. Rochester is now 6-2 on the year while Thunder Bay is 4-3. The Border Cats jumped on the board first, scoring an unearned run in the second inning, but Flynn would shake it off and continue to put up zeroes while Rochester climbed back against Thunder Bay starter Tyler Powell (Belmont Abbey). The Honkers threatened several times early, but finally got on the board in the fourth, tying the game at 1-1 on an RBI single by Chris Auten (New Mexico State). Rance Roundy (UNLV) scored on the play, but the throw to the plate beat him by several seconds and it took an elusive slide to escape the tag. The Honkers would go on to take the lead in the inning when they added a run on another RBI single by Mitch Karraker (Oregon) to make it 2-1. The score stayed there until the sixth when the Cats tied it up on a two-out RBI single by Derek Hamblen (Belmont U) and chased Flynn from the game. Scott McGough (Oregon) came on in relief and escaped the inning. The score wouldn’t stay tied for long, though, as the Honkers jumped back out in front in the bottom half of the sixth. Dunsmore connected on his home run with two outs in the inning to make it 3-2 Honkers, and Rochester doubled the lead to 4-2 with an RBI single by William Arnold (Central Michigan). The Honkers nearly added a fifth run on a single by Corey Jones (Cal State Fullerton), but an unusual play at the plate ended the rally. Drew Beuerlein (UNLV) charged home an escaped the tag of catcher Dean Forthun (Columbia U) and started walking toward the dugout to greet his teammates, but the umpire never called him safe. Apparently Beuerlein had failed to touch the plate, and Forthun eventually chased him toward the Honkers dugout and applied the tag. The Honkers argued the call, and Corey Jones was ejected in the argument. Rochester would score two more in the seventh to make it 6-2, but the Border Cats nearly came back in the ninth. After McGough allowed a run to score and the tying run to reach the plate the Honkers brought in Sikula, and he induced a double play ball off the bat of Marty Johnson (Bellevue) to end the game.

Brainerd 6 – Green Bay 0

The Lunkers brought ten men to the plate, recorded five hits, and scored six runs in the eighth inning to end the pitcher’s duel against the Green Bay Bullfrogs and snap their two-game losing streak with their 6-0 win. Even though 11 men reached base for the Bullfrogs, starter Brad Mergen (Indian Hills CC) didn’t allow a single run to score in his complete game performance. Mergen fought back time-and-time again against Green Bay and continued to shine when it mattered most. He allowed a measly four hits, walked six, and struck out six in nine innings. In addition, he picked up his third victory of the year and dropped his ERA to 2.10. Stephen Wickens (Florida Gulf Coast) recorded the first hit of the night for the Lunkers in the fourth, but was left stranded on third. It wasn’t until that eighth inning where the sticks came alive. A leadoff single by Hunter Nolen (Northern Colorado), which was only the second hit of the night, gave way to a Justin Gominsky (Minnesota) walk. Shon Roe (Loyola Marymount) untied the game with his RBI single through the right side of the infield. Then, Nate Hammes’ (St. Cloud State) groundout brought home another run to give the Lunkers the two-run lead. A third came home on a Stephen Wickens double to right, and the inning was capped off with RBI base hits by Mike Kvasnicka (Minnesota) and Michael Gedman (UMass).

Waterloo 5 – Battle Creek 2

Waterloo grabbed its third win in its last four games Friday, upending Battle Creek 5-2 at Riverfront Stadium. Playing in front of a season-high 3,256 fans, the Blue, Gold and White (4-3 second half, 14-26 overall) responded. Starting pitcher Scott Williams (UW-Stevens Point) fired eight innings of five-hit ball, striking out four and allowing just one walk. On offense, catcher Frazier Hall (Southern) drilled a solo home run and second baseman Zach McCool (Iowa) ended with three hits including a double. Battle Creek (3-4 second half, 24-16 overall) was topped by an RBI single from left fielder Alan Denman (Uni. Of South Carolina-Sumter). It was the first pitching loss for starter James Jones (James A. Logan C.C.).

Eau Claire 6 – Mankato 3

An early 5-0 deficit was too much for the MoonDogs to overcome, as Eau Claire jumped out to the five run lead after two, and held on for a 6-3 win Friday evening at Franklin Rogers Park. Leadoff man Robbie Knight (Creighton) was the catalyst all night for the Express (23-15, 2-6), finishing 2-3 with two runs and two RBI. He also clubbed a double and a home run, his second of the year, and also added two walks. The Dogs out-hit the Express 10-8 and were led by KC Serna (Oregon) and Kyle Knudson (Minnesota) who had three hits apiece. Jimmy Patterson (Arizona State) added his team-leading fourth home run and Cody Fick (Evansville) also had an RBI. Zach Whitman (Georgia Southwestern) started on the hill for the Dogs and was tagged for four runs in the first. Jason Ganek (Illinois-Chicago) brought home the first run with an RBI single which was followed by a first-and-third double steal that scored Nolan Fadness (UW-Oshkosh) for a 2-0 lead. Brooks Pinckard (Baylor) brought home the third Express run with a single and the fourth came around on an error by Taylor Black (Kentucky) on a soft popup to shallow right. Whitman (3-3) lasted just two and two-thirds innings, allowing five runs on four hits while walking three for the MoonDogs (26-14, 3-4). After Knight’s solo shot in the second, the Express bats remained silent until he came up big again. His line-drive double to the right center gap after the Dogs cut the lead to two gave his squad a three-run lead, stealing the momentum back from the MoonDogs. Tyler Bremer (UC-Davis) earned the win (1-0) for Eau Claire, throwing six innings and striking out five. Pinckard came in from first base in the ninth to record his first save of the year.

Alexandria 6 – Madison 5

Madison suffered its most difficult loss of the year as Alexandria scored five runs in the ninth inning off Dan Burawa (St. John’s) to steal a 6-3 win before 5,341 at the “Duck Pond” on Friday night. Eight strong innings from Alex Rivers (Santa Clara) went for not in the Mallards’ first loss at home in the second half. Burawa was seeking his third save of the season and retired the first two batters with ease, but Alexandria made the most of its final out. They sent nine batters to the plate and put up five runs, highlighted by Tim Roberson’s (Florida Gulf Coast) 2-run double off the center field wall to cap the huge rally. Rivers faced two bases loaded jams, one happened in the third inning when he gave up a trio of singles to begin the frame, but a tailor made double play to the second baseman Jacob Esch (Georgia Tech) retired the side unscathed. It happened again in the fifth inning. With a run in already, the Beetles loaded the bases for Roberson, who stepped to the plate with a chance to redeem himself of an error he committed in the inning before. He hit a ground ball to Esch at second and appeared to have beaten the double play at first after Jerrud Sabourin (Indiana) failed to make the scoop in the dirt. A run would have scored on the play, but the field umpire ruled that he made the scoop and dropped the ball on the transfer. The inning ended and a run came off the board keeping the Mallards in front 3-1. Rivers ended up going eight strong innings, having faced one over the minimum in his final three innings of work. He scattered nine hits and allowed a run while throwing 117 pitches. The Mallards scored their three runs in the fourth inning thanks to a Troy Channing RBI single and three Alexandria errors. Mark Ginther (Oklahoma State) and Harold Riggins (NC State) led off the inning with a pair of walks. Joe Patterson (Texas A&M) then stepped up and grounded one to first base, but Roberson couldn’t get his glove down quick enough and it skipped through to right field, scoring Ginther from second base. Another error on the throw home from the right fielder, Chase Porch (North Alabama), allowed Patterson to advance to second putting both runners in scoring position. Riggins then scored on a wild pitch before Channing singled home Patterson. In the fifth, the Mallards had a chance to take on some more, but Handley was able to work his way out of a bases loaded jam of his own. After a Patterson pop up for out number one, Channing stepped up and grounded one to second base and the Beetles executed their second double play of the night to end the threat.

Wisconson 7 – Duluth 1