Four teams sweep second half opening series, all 18 teams in action Thursday

Four different teams- Mankato, Madison, Wisconsin and Kenosha- picked up their second straight win and a series sweep to start the second half of the season. CJ Eldred needed just 78 pitches to throw a complete game to lead Eau Claire to a 6-1 victory, while Brett Siddall drove in three runs to power Lakeshore to an easy 14-2 rout.

Eau Claire 6, Waterloo 1

Peter Van Gansen (Cal Poly) drove in two runs in his second multi-hit game in a row, a four-hit performance and teammate CJ Eldred (Indiana) threw a complete game to give Eau Claire a split against Waterloo with a 6-1 victory. Van Gansen had a pair of RBI singles and stole two bases for the Express, who snapped a three-game Bucks win streak. Eldred allowed just five hits and one run while facing just three batters over the minimum. He needed just 78 pitches as he only struck out one in his longest start of the summer. Kevin Kaczmarski (Evansville) drove in the Bucks lone run with a RBI groundout in the first.

Kenosha 7, St. Cloud 3

A four-run third handed Kenosha their second straight win and a sweep of St. Cloud with a 7-3 victory. Zach Jones (Northwestern) had season-high three RBIs as he had a bases-loaded triple in the third inning and it backed an excellent start from J.D. Nielsen (Illinois). Nielsen went seven innings and gave up just three runs on one hit- the only Rox hit of the night, a two-run home run from Will Craig (Wake Forest). Steven Sensley (LSU-Enice) added two RBIs for the Kingfish, who are a perfect 2-0 to start the second half of the season. 

Mankato 3, Willmar 1

The Northern Division first half champions Willmar were beaten for the second consecutive night by Mankato, with the MoonDogs picking up a 3-1 victory. Mankato bounced back from an early 1-0 deficit as they scored a run apiece in alternate innings to pull away. Stinger starter Kurt Singer (Portland) went eight innings, his third consecutive start of six plus innings, but was not met with enough run support. Singer struck out three and gave up three runs on five hits but was outdueled by Cord Cockrell (Southern Miss). Cockrell pitched into the seventh for the MoonDogs, allowing just one run on five hits while striking out seven. Three different Mankato players picked up RBIs.

Lakeshore 14, Battle Creek 2

Lakeshore scored at least one run in all but two innings as they rolled over Battle Creek, 14-2, to bounce back from a second-half opening loss. The Chinooks had four different hitters with 3+ hits, including a three-hit, four-RBI performance from Brett Sidall (Cansius). Siddall hit a pair of doubles and added a two-run home run. He also scored three runs while Blake Butler (Charleston Col) added a four-hit, four-run day- his third multi-hit performance over the last four games. Lakeshore starter Evan Kruczynski (East Carolina) didn't allow an earned run over six innngs to pick up the win as he had more then enough run support from a Chinooks offense that picked up 18 hits, a team high this summer.

Green Bay 3, La Crosse 0

Mike Ellenbest (Saginaw Valley St) turned in one of the best pitching performances by a Bullfrog this summer, going eight shutout innings and giving up just one hit while striking out six in a 3-0 victory over La Crosse. Ellenbest picked up the win and pitcher of the night honors and was backed by a two-run home run from Ivan Vieitez (Lenoir-Rhyne), his seventh multi-RBI game this summer. Green Bay bounced back to split the two-game series with the Loggers, who've now dropped seven of their last ten. Both games between these teams saw the winning team throw a shutout.

Wisconsin 12, Wisconsin Rapids 7

A pair of four-run innings put Wisconsin over the top as they downed in-state rival Wisconsin Rapids, 12-7, to sweep the second half opening series. Brendon Hayden (Virginia Tech) enjoyed a huge game at the plate, tacking on five RBIs with a pair of home runs- one a grand slam in the top of the ninth to push the then-lead to eight. His duo was one of four home runs on the day for the Woodchucks, who rank second in the league with 28 on the seasons. The other two came by the bats of Ryan Howard (Missouri) who hit a solo shot, and Zach Arnold (Kentucky) who added a two-run blast on a three RBI night. 

Alexandria 8, Thunder Bay 1

Thunder Bay couldn't push across a run until one out in the ninth as Alexandria had no problem in an 8-1 victory. The Blue Anchors bounced back from a loss last night and used an excellent start from Jason Zgardowski (Angelo St) and a duo of hitters to down the Border Cats. Zgardowski picked up his first win in his eighth start as he went five innings for the first time since June 17, shutting out Thunder Bay while allowing just three hits and striking out three. He had plenty of run support, led by the combination of Roman Collins (DMACC) and Kris Goodman (Iowa). Together, Goodman and Collins drove in six runs as they each hit home runs for the Blue Anchors.

Madison 6, Kalamazoo 3

A three-run deficit wasn't a problem for Madison, who rallied behind a four-run fourth to sweep the Growlers, 6-3. The Mallards grounded into four double plays and left 12 runners aboard but three different players picked up two RBIs to secure the win. Tony Butler (Virginia), Austin Barr (Stanford) and Connor Marabell (Jacksonville) all drove in two runs for Madison, who improved to a perfect 2-0 to start the second half with a sweep. Barr hit a home run for Madison, supporting starter Tyler Buffet (Oklahoma St) who picked up his first win on the season in his second Mallard start.

Rochester 8, Duluth 5

Rochester picked up a split with the Huskies behind the bats of Corey Hassel (Oklahoma St) and Jeff Campbell (North Dakota) as they picked up an 8-5 victory. Campbell hit a two-run home run on a three-RBI day in the fourth, starting a Honker comeback from an early 3-0 deficit. Trailing 5-4 in the eighth, Hassel added a grand slam that proved to be the game-winner. Alex Michaels (Cal Poly) added his second multi-RBI game in as many nights but Hassel's go-ahead home run was the final nail in the coffin for the Huskies.

Friday's Schedule (4th of July!)

Battle Creek at Madison (12:30)
St. Cloud at Green Bay (3:05)
Kenosha at Wisconsin Rapids (3:05)
Battle Creek at Madison (3:05)
Alexandria at Duluth (5:05)
Mankato at Eau Claire (6:05)
Rochester at Waterloo (6:05)
Willmar at Thunder Bay (7:05)
Rochester at Waterloo (7:05)
La Crosse at Wisconsin (7:05)
Lakeshore at Kalamazoo (7:35)