Three-way tie for first in South, Willmar has sole posession in North
Willmar improved to 9-1 over their last ten games behind a complete game shutout from Brady Anderson while three teams share first place in the South- Wisconsin, Lakeshore and La Crosse. The trio carry a combined winning streak of eight, led by the Woodchucks who won their fourth straight.
Mankato 3, Duluth 2
After falling behind 2-1 in the sixth, Mankato came back to tie it and pulled ahead late to beat the Huskies, 3-2. The MoonDog's second win in the row saw them slug 11 hits and leave nine men on base before finally jumping on top in the eighth. Peter Maris and Tanner Rockwell combined to go 6-8 with a run and a RBI to support reliever Blake Battenfield, who got the win in his first Northwoods League appearance. Jacob Westerhouse got his fourth save fo second-place Mankato.
Waterloo 10, Eau Claire 8
Waterloo continued to gain on the North division leaders as they pulled into third place by winning a 10-8 slugfest thanks to a five-run third. The Bucks capitalized on Express mistakes, scoring seven unearned runs on five errors. Will Sparks and Pat Mackenzie both went 2-4 with two runs scored and each added a double. Waterloo starter Drasen Johnson went five innings, allowing four earned runs and striking out five to get the win. Two middle relievers allowed Eau Claire to cut the lead to two but Alex Dian picked up his fifth save with a 1-2-3 ninth.
Wisconsin Rapids 14, Kalamazoo 11
It's safe to say that this wasn't a pitching duel as the combined boxscore was 25 runs on 27 hits, with the Rafters coming out on top, 14-11, in a battle of the South division's worst. The Growlers took their third loss as Wisconsin Rapids scored five in the second and four apiece in the sixth and seventh. Keelin Rash (Louisiana Monroe) drove in four runs for the Rafters and scored three times as he went 2-3 with a home run. Reliever Isaac Behme (Webster) got his third win in relief and Nick Prebski (UW-Stevens Point) picked up his first save.
Wisconsin 6, Green Bay 2
Wisconsin won their fourth straight game to pull into a three-way tie for first, beating Green Bay 6-2. Robby Medel (TCU) went six innings, allowing just two earned runs on eight hits with two strikeouts to pick up the win. He was boosted by Jake Scudder (Iowa Western), who hit a solo home run. Five different Woodchucks picked up RBIs while three had multi-hit games.
Lakeshore 5, Kenosha 4
A one-run sixth proved to be the difference as Lakeshore fought off a late rally from the Kingfish to move into a three-way tie in first palce with a 5-4 win. Lakeshore's Brett Sidall (Cansius) had his third multi-RBI game on the season as he went 1-3 with a two-RBI single to support starter Cam Vieaux (Michigan State). Vieux bounced back from a rough season-opening start to throw six shutout inngs, allowing just three hits and striking out three to pick up the win. Teammate Andrew Elliot (Wright State) picked up his fifth save in his seventh appearance and retired all five batters he faced.
La Crosse 10, Alexandria 5
The Loggers scored at least one run in six different innings, including a five-run seventh to turn a tied game into an easy win, 10-5, over Alexandria. The Blue Anchors stayed with La Crosse's offense as they tied the game at five heading into the bottom of the seventh. However, NWL Player of the Night Luke Persico (UCLA) and the Loggers had other ideas as Persico hit a bases-loaded two-run single and they pulled away, 10-5. Persico finished 2-4 with two runs, three RBIs and a home run. Middle reliever Zack Walsh (Valparaiso) picked up the win in relief.
Madison 3, Battle Creek 2
The Mallards won their second straight, but sit a game out of the three-way tie for first place in the South Division, fighting off a Battle Creek rally to win 3-2. Madison scored three runs in the sixth behind a pair of RBI singles and they just stayed ahead when Battle Creek's Connor Panas (Cansisus) hit a two-run home run in the eighth. Three Mallards pitchers combined for a shutout through the first seven innings, including Andrew Buckley (Cal) who got the win. Tim Black (Central Michigan) faced four batters and retired them all to pick up his league-leading seventh save.
Rochester 8, Thunder Bay 6
Down 6-5 in the bottom of the ninth, Rochester tied it on a RBI double from Travis Hull (Chabot) and then won it on a two-run walkoff home run from Blaise Lezynski (Notre Dame), beating the Border Cats 8-6. Lezynski took the first pitch he saw with one out and sent Rochester home with the win. Thunder Bay closer Devin McLemore (Winston Salem State) blew his second straight save while the Honker's Carl Jameson (Missouri Baptist) picked up the win.
Willmar 6, St. Cloud 0
The Stingers won their second straight and have now gone 9-1 over their last ten games with a shutout 6-0 win against rival St. Cloud. Willmar, led by NWL Pitcher of the Night Brady Anderson (FGCU), now sits two games above second-place Mankato with a Northwoods League best 16-5 record. Anderson threw a complete game shutout, allowing just five hits while striking out five and not walking anyone. Casey Hughston (Alabama) went 2-4 with two runs, a double and a RBI for the Stingers.
Thursday's Schedule (all games at 7:05 unless otherwise noted)
Mankato at Duluth (6:35)
Waterloo at Eau Claire (6:35)
Green Bay at Wisconsin
Battle Creek at Madison
Thunder Bay at Rochester
St. Cloud at Willmar
Wisconsin Rapids at Kalamazoo
Lakeshore at Kenosha
Alexandria at La Crosse