NWL Roundup 7/19

Wisconsin 5 – Green Bay 4

Wisconsin put a foul taste into Green Bay’s mouth before the Northwoods League All-Star break as it used a pair of home runs and extra frames to take the series sweep, 5-4, on Sunday afternoon at Athletic Park Wisconsin opened the contest with a homer in each of the first two innings to get the offense started. Both teams went back-and-forth in the scoring department during the first four frames before the pitching took over. Wisconsin played small ball in the bottom of the 11th inning for the victory. It opened the frame with a Casey Rihn (Southern Carolina) walk. He was pushed to second on a sacrifice bunt and eventually scored on Chad Wright’s (Kentucky) game-winning single. Green Bay has now fallen seven times this season during contests that have gone extra innings. Brett Kill (UCLA) went 3-for-5 on the night, including a home run, for Wisconsin. Troy Frazier (Kentucky) and Carson Vitale (Creighton) each recorded two hits and Jeremy Richter (UW-Stevens Point) also homered. The Woodchucks added four stolen bases in the game, but was also thrown out twice. Chris Schaeffer (North Carolina State) led the Bullfrog lineup with a 2-for-5 performance at the plate, while Jacob House (Arkansas) added a stolen base. Anthony Drobnick (Washington State) picked up the victory in three innings on the mound. He struck out four and walked none. Wisconsin opened the contest with a home run by Kill in the first frame and used a Richter blast in the second to take a 2-0 advantage after two frames of play. The Bullfrogs loaded the bases on a single, walk, and throwing error in the third inning. Collin Kuhn (Arkansas) proceeded to hit a two-RBI double down the left field line, which resulted in a two-all tie game. Green Bay keep the momentum at the plate in the fourth when Sam VandenHeuvel (Rhode Island) hit a rocket single to drive in Jared Andreoli (Western Kentucky) for a 3-2 lead. In its half of the inning Wisconsin reclaimed the advantage with a pair of runs, to go on top 4-3. The Woodchucks used a pair of walks and a double steal to set up Vitale’s two-RBI double to left center field. Schaeffer hit the Bullfrogs only extra base hit of the game – a double in the eighth. He was plated on Kyle Robinson’s (Indian River State College) single, which tied the game, 4-4. Matthew Kimball (Brown) was tagged with the loss in 0.2 innings on the hill after allowing the game-winning run and two walks.

St. Cloud 6 – Thunder Bay 2

The St. Cloud River Bats (10-5) plated three first-inning runs and never looked back, upending the Thunder Bay Border Cats (7-9) 6-2 in front of 1,537 fans at Joe Faber Field. With the win, the Bats remain in first place, percentage points ahead of Rochester (11-6), which defeated La Crosse tonight, 7-4. Pitching for the second time against the Border Cats, Kurtis Frymier (Michigan State) snagged the win, allowing just one earned run on three hits over six innings. The right-hander (4-2) surrendered a solo home run to A.J. Schugel (Central Arizona C.C.) before settling in. In his final game for the Bats, Nick Longmire (Pacific) finished 2-for-4 with a walk and two runs batted in. The Bats three run first included an RBI sacrifice from Danny Oh (Cal-Berkeley), an RBI ground out from Longmire as well as a run-producing single from Hugo Hernandez (College of the Canyons). With single runs in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings the Bats ensured a three straight win and secured first place for at least three more days. Jonathan Roof (Michigan State) singled in a run in the fourth inning and reached base in all five of his at-bats. Three relievers combined to close out the game. Barry Rooks (Florida Atlantic) hurled a scoreless seventh and Drew Palen (Penn State) tossed the eighth before Tyler Fries negotiated the ninth. Dan Betteridge added two more hits, including a triple to left center field.

Brainerd 4 – Mankato 2

A 2-4, three RBI day from Will Piwinica-Worms (Duke), and a solid effort from a host of Brainerd pitchers led the Lunkers to a 4-2 victory over the Mankato MoonDogs Sunday at Franklin Rogers Park. Piwinica-Worms had two, two-out run scoring singles to account for three of the four Lunker runs. In the second, the Lunkers loaded the bases with two gone. Piwinica-Worms got the big hit, grounding a single up the middle scoring two to make it a 2-0 ballgame. The Lunkers then broke a 2-2 in the eighth behind run scoring singles from Mike Gedman (UMASS) and Piwinica-Worms. Gedman’s one-out single and subsequent error by Ryan Durant (Iowa) allowed the go-ahead run to score. After the second out, and with Gedman on second, Piwinica-Worms came through with a two-out knock to give the Lunkers a 4-2 cushion. The Lunkers (25-24, 9-7) out-hit the MoonDogs (32-18, 9-8) handily for the second straight night 10-3. They were led by Piwinica-Worms’ big night and Gedman, who finished 2-5 with two runs. The Lunkers staff stymied the MoonDog bats, but Cody Fick (Evansville) launched a two-run home run well over the left field fence to tie the game at two in the sixth. Taylor Black (Kentucky) was also 2-4 but that was all the offense the MoonDogs would generate. The Lunkers threw five different pitchers in the contest, as Mats Mattson (New Orleans) picked up his first win (1-1) by striking out the side in the seventh. Mike Frongello (Davidson) pitched the last two innings to earn his second save of the season. Tony Manville (Northern Illinois) fell to 2-1 on the year after allowing the two eighth inning runs.

Madison 11 – Eau Claire 7

The Mallards used the power of pink to swing past Eau Claire on Sunday night. Madison donned pink unis and bats to raise awareness for Susan G. Komen for the Cure and it led them to an 11-7 win and a sweep of the Express in front of 6,084 at the “Duck Pond”. Madison (29-21 overall, 10-6 second half) came from behind to score nine of its 11 runs in the middle three innings and received a great start from Jacob Esch (Georgia Tech) to take some much needed momentum into the All-Star break. The Express, first half South Division champions, took an early lead in the second with two runs. Andy Leonard’s (UIC) sacrifice fly to center got the first tally on the board for Eau Claire and Dominic Piazza’s (Yavapai) single up the middle scored one more to give the visitors a 2-0 lead. Madison looked to have an answer when they loaded the bases with one out in the bottom half of the inning, but Brashad Johnson’s (Des Moines Area CC) sharp grounder to the right side was right at second baseman Drew Heithoff (Augustana) who quickly turned the inning ending double play. Eau Claire added an unearned run in the third after Nolan Fadness (UW-Oshkosh) reached on a tough error from a bad hop by Mallard first baseman Harold Riggins (NC State). Fadness stole second base and then advanced to third on an errant throw by the catcher John Hicks (Virginia). Kole Calhoun (Arizona State) drove him in with an RBI groundout to make it 3-0 Express. The Mallards had another chance to answer in the third, but couldn’t convert, leaving two more runners on base and in the fourth, Eau Claire made it three straight innings of at least one run. Piazza’s line drive to right stayed in the air just long enough to get over the short porch measuring 295 feet for a solo home run, his second long ball of the season. The third time was a charm for the Mallards as they finally came up with an answer to an Eau Claire scoring frame. They responded with four runs on three hits and had a little help with a couple of Express defensive errors to tie the game. Eight batters came to the plate with the first four reaching base and included a pair of RBI singles by Johnson and Kurtis Muller (Iowa). In the fifth, Jimmy Parque (St. John’s) gave Madison the lead with an RBI double down the right field line, scoring Hicks from second. Troy Channing (St. Mary’s) extended the lead to a 6-4 margin with an RBI double to deep left that narrowly missed leaving the park. The Mallards made it three straight innings with a run scored and nine unanswered when they added three more in the sixth. Two runs came around on Riggins’ 13th double of the season and he scored from third on Channing’s sacrifice fly. The Express put up a three-spot in the seventh, chasing Esch from the game after loading the bases with nobody out. J.R. Graham (Santa Clara) relieved the righty and was able to get the next three batters out to retire the side, one on an RBI groundout and another with a sacrifice fly to cut the deficit to 9-7. Esch (2-1) allowed seven runs (6 earned) on nine hits while striking out five and walking two over six-plus innings. Adam McClain (Memphis) connected on a pinch-hit two-out two-run home run in the eighth to give Madison a little more breathing room. It was McClain’s fourth homer of the year and the first for the Mallards since July 11 when they hit two in a 7-4 win over Alexandria. J.R. Graham earned the save with three innings of scoreless relief, allowing just one hit. Hicks led the hit parade with a 3-hit effort while Parque and Channing each added a pair of base knocks. The Mallards out-hit the Express, 12-10, and matched their third-highest run total of the season. It was the most runs scored in a game for Madison since June 27 when they put up 19 runs in a win over Brainerd.

Rochester 7 – La Crosse 4

The Honkers came out to play on their last day before the All-Star break, and picked up a 7-4 victory over the La Crosse Loggers on Sunday night. The Honkers sailed for most of the game, but La Crosse managed to bring the tying run to the plate in the ninth before the Honkers were able to close the door. With the win the Honkers are now 11-6 in the second half while La Crosse fell to 10-6. Rochester jumped ahead early with a big second inning off of La Crosse starter Pete Woodworth (Florida Gulf Coast). Drew Beuerlein (UNLV) and Danny Brock (St. Louis) led off the inning with two singles, and John Tommasini (Oregon State) delivered a run-scoring double two batters later to start the scoring and give the Honkers a 1-0 lead. Mitch Karraker (Oregon) drove in another run with a sacrifice fly and P.J. Sequeira (Oral Roberts) gave the Honkers a 3-0 lead when he drove in Tommasini on an two-out, infield single. Rochester then extended its lead and chased Woodworth from the game in the third. Beuerlein started things off with a double, and Woodworth got the next batter before issuing three straight walks to load the bases and push a run in, making it 4-0. The Loggers then turned to their bullpen in Craig Crumbly (Florida Gulf Coast), who got Corey Jones (Cal State Fullerton) to pop out, but hit Sequeira with a pitch to send home another run before he could end the inning. The five run cushion after three innings was enough for the Honker arms, but the Loggers did their best to come back. Honkers starter Brody Taliaferro (Hutchinson CC) went five innings in his first Northwoods League start, allowing just three hits and one run to score in the fifth. The Honkers had added a run in the top half of the inning so the lead was still five at 6-1 heading into the sixth inning. Tony Thompson (Kansas) hit a home run on the first pitch of the inning to put Rochester up 7-1, but the Loggers forced across another run in the bottom of the frame against Rochester reliever Jay Johnson (Prairie Baseball Academy) to make it 7-2. The score stayed there until the eighth, when La Crosse began to rally. Scott McGough (Oregon) came on to start the inning for the Honkers, and the Loggers didn’t greet him warmly. Tony Mueller (Winona State) started the inning with a single and Greg Holt (North Carolina) launched a two-run homer to cut the Honkers’ lead to 7-4. But McGough would settle down and pitch his way through the inning before passing the ball off to Arik Sikula (Marshall), who tossed a scoreless ninth to earn his league-leading 14th save. Beuerlein led the Honkers with three hits, while both Sequeira and Karraker had two-RBI nights. Thompson’s home run was his first with Rochester. Holt led the La Crosse offense, going 2-for-4 with two RBI and a run scored. Taliaferro got his first win to move to 1-0 on the year, while Woodworth took the loss to fall to 3-4.

Battle Creek 7 – Alexandria 5

Fans at Knute Nelson Park saw a lot of pitches on Sunday; 364 to be exact. And in the end, it was a 3-2 fastball that was called strike three halting the Beetles comeback two runs short. Trailing by three in the ninth, Alexandria mounted a one-out rally, thanks in part to a pair of Battle Creek errors.  After Sean Olenek (Mercer) singled to left field, Brendan Alvey (Navarro JC) drew the Beetle’s thirteenth walk of the game, plating a run. But, after a Jayson Langfels (Eastern Kentucky) pop up, Mikel Alvarez (FGCU) who had already walked three times, took strike three at the knees, ending the game. In all, the Beetles left the bases loaded three times, and only tallied four hits on the night. Meanwhile, Battle Creek took advantage of a rare Matt Fyffe (Eastern Kentucky) poor outing.  The all-star righty lasted just 3.1 innings, giving up five runs on eight hits, including a Josh Valle (Marshall) three run homer. Bombers starter Josh McElwee (Newberry) didn’t make it out of the third inning.  In the first alone he walked five batters, tossing 60 pitches.  He left after 2.2, with 108 pitches under his belt. The Valle homerun made it 4-2 Battle Creek going into the bottom of the third, but back to back doubles by Sean Olenek (Mercer) and Alvey tied the score at four. But the Bombers chipped away, getting single runs in the fourth, fifth and sixth, taking 7-4 lead.  Meanwhile, the Beetles bats fell silent, going without a hit from the fourth through eighth innings.