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Kenosha gain on Wisconsin in Southern playoff race

A Wisconsin loss paired with a Kenosha win cut the Woodchucks lead on the second Southern Division playoff spot to just a half game with two games left to play. Meanwhile, Mankato walked off in 13 innings against Rochester and Eau Claire duked it out with Willmar in a game that featured 27 runs and 31 hits. 

Duluth 7, Wisconsin 4

Wisconsin's bullpen faltered late, allowing six late runs to erase an early 4-1 lead and dropped the series finale to the red hot Huskies. Duluth struck for four runs in the bottom of the eighth to break open a one-run game and overcame three errors as Vinnie Rodriguez (Montevallo) drove in a trio of runs. Alex Michaels (Cal Poly) added a pair of RBIs and Steve Villines (Kansas) set down both batters he faced in the ninth for his seventh save. The loss, paired with a Kenosha win, trimmed their lead for the second playoff spot to just a 1/2 game with two games remaining. 

Mankato 3, Rochester 2 (11 innings)

Peter Maris's (UC Santa Barbara) second RBI of the game was a big one, as he drove in the game-winning run in the bottom of the 11th inning with a RBI single to carry Mankato to a 3-2 win over the Honkers. Maris finished 3-6 and his late game heroics handed the win to Tyler Mark (Cal St Dominguez), who was lights out in relief. He went three shutout innings and allowed just one hit while striking out seven. The walkoff hit came off of Brandon Stennis (Doane Col), who took his third loss of the season.

Battle Creek 11, Madison 5

The Bombers 3-4 punch of Colby Bortles and Cody Kuzniczki (Northern Kentucky) was too much for Madison, as they combined to drive in six runs- the difference in an 11-5 win. The Mallards racked up 11 hits, but could only manage five runs, two coming from Alex Bacon (North Florida) as he hit a home run on a three-hit day. Despite allowing 11 hits, Edgar Sanchez (Cedar Valley College) only needed 103 pitches to go eight innings in just his second start allowing just three earned runs while striking out four and not issuing a walk. 

Kalamazoo 7, La Crosse 4

La Crosse left nine men on base and fell to the Growlers, despite out-hitting them 13-11. Kalamazoo righthander Ryan Smoyer (Notre Dame) tied his season high in hits allowed with ten, but he gave up just a trio of earned runs and struck out two while not issuing a walk. Alex Maloney (Ball State) went 3-4 and drove in two runs for the Growlers, while Eric Hall (Chicago St) went three shutout innings in relief and allowed just two hits for his first save of the season. Four different Loggers each drove in a run.

Alexandria 3, Waterloo 1

In a game that featured 20 hits and 20 men left on base, Alexandria held the Bucks scoreless through the first eight innings and picked up a 3-1 win. Every single member of the Blue Anchors recorded a hit, and a trio of home runs carried them to the win. Aiden Hook (North Dakota St), Ben Allen (DMACC) and Jeremy Hyde (Montavallo) all went deep with solo shots to back starter Sean Stutzman (Dallas Baptist), who struck out seven over six innings. Austin Smith (Georgia Gwinnett) entered with the bases loaded and two outs in the ninth and got a clutch strikeout to end any threat of a Waterloo comeback.

Kenosha 5, Green Bay 2

Kenosha pulled within a 1/2 game of Wisconsin for the second playoff spot in the Southern Division as Pat Porter (Ohio State) cleared the bases with a three-run triple in the top of the eighth to erase a 2-0 Bullfrogs lead. The Kingfish tacked on two more runs in the top of the ninth and downed Green Bay to pick up a crucial win. The Bullfrog's Zac Westcott (Nova Southeastern) had cruised through seven shutout innings before Kenosha finally got to him to hand the righty the loss. Porter drove in three runs on the night to bring his total to a round 60.

St. Cloud 10, Thunder Bay 1

Reese Gregory (St. Cloud State) and the Rox pummeled Thunder Bay, racking up 10 runs on 16 hits in a nine-run rout. Clay Ardeeser (Georgia Col) hit a home run on a three-hit, four-RBI night and teammate Robert Youngdahl (Notre Dame) hit a pinch-hit solo home run for St. Cloud. Gregory went eight innings and gave up a singe unearned run while issuing just one walk and holding the BorderCats to five hits. He also struck out nine and lowered his season ERA below 2.  

Wisconsin Rapids 11, Lakeshore 8

Wisconsin Rapids swept the division-leading Chinooks behind five runs apiece in the first and second innings. The Rafters jumped ahead 10-3 and didn't look back, providing plenty of insurance for a late Lakeshore rally. Keelin Rasch (Louisiana Monroe) enjoyed another big day at the plate, hitting a solo home run on a four-hit, four-RBI day. Rasch has 11 RBIs over his last 13 at bats. Teammate Campbell Wear (UC Santa Barbara) drove in three runs and starter Derek Kawlewski (Rhode Island) overcame four errors by his defense- resulting in seven runs, just two of which were earned- to pick up the win.

Eau Claire 16, Willmar 11

In an offensive slugfest that featured 27 combined runs and 31 hits, Eau Claire came out on top 16-11. Alex Call hit a grand slam for the Express on a five-RBI day, and Eau Claire jumped out to an early 11-2 lead and didn't look back. They fought off several Stingers rallies and had built up more then enough insurance. Three other Express picked up multiple RBIs while Max Waletich (Minnesota St) had a home run on a four-RBI day in the loss for Willmar.

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