Express Announce Returning Players for the 2015 Season
Eau Claire, WI – The Eau Claire Express announced today the return of nine players from the 2014 to the 2015 roster. Our returning Express players include Brady Burzynski, CJ Eldred, Sam Hurt, Tyler Jones, Travis Neubeck, Dalton Roach, Jordan Ruckman, Connor Rusch, and Peter Van Gansen.
Brady Burzynski is no stranger to the Express or to Carson Park. Burzynski will be back for his third season with the Express after hitting .278 with 42 runs scored, 23 RBI, and a .381 on-base percentage. Burzynski is entering his junior season at UW-Stout after hitting .356, slugging three homeruns, and sporting a .415 on-base percentage during his sophomore campaign with the Blue Devils. Burzynski is an Eau Claire native who played for Eau Claire Memorial High School.
CJ Eldred will return to the Express for his second season after playing his first full college season at the University of Indiana; Eldred redshirted during his first season as a Hoosier. In 2014 for the Express, Eldred started 11 games and posted a 3.90 ERA with a 2-5 record. Eldred struck out 24 batters and only walked 13 in 62.1 innings pitched. Eldred’s most memorable moment from last season was a 78-pitch complete game victory against the Waterloo Bucks on July 3rd.
Sam Hurt returns to the Express after signing a temporary contract late in the 2014 season; he played the final three games of the 2014 season with the Express. Hurt went 7 for 12 in those three games, scoring four runs, batting in two, and legging out two doubles. Hurt is another Eau Claire native, and he plays his collegiate ball at Madison College. In 2014, Hurt batted .321 for the Wolfpack scoring 32 runs and driving in 24 to earn a .392 on-base percentage.
Tyler Jones will make his second trip to Eau Claire for summer baseball with the Express after finishing up the collegiate season with the Air Force Academy. Jones was one of the more consistent Express players early in the 2014 season hitting .222 in just 13 games, while sporting a .382 on-base percentage. Jones was named NWL Player of the Night on May 28th in an Express double-header sweep of the eventual NWL Champion Lakeshore Chinooks.
Travis Neubeck will return to the Express for the 2015 season after joining the team for the last month of the 2014 season. Neubeck was selected to the NWL showcase team in 2014 for his performance on the mound; he struck out 11 batters in only 10.2 innings of work out of the bullpen for the Express.
Dalton Roach will also make a return to the Express from Minnesota State Mankato. Roach got a chance to show off his arm late in the Express’s 2014 season after having just graduated from Eau Claire Memorial High School. In just two appearances and two innings pitched, Roach struck out three of the eight batters he faced while walking no one and giving up only two hits.
Jordan Ruckman was one of the more consistent starters for the Express early in the 2014 season sporting a 3-0 record in seven starts and eight appearances. Ruckman will return to the Express for 2015 after posting a 3.35 ERA, collecting one save, and striking out 32 batters in 40.1 innings pitched in 2014. The junior from Northern Illinois University struck out 39 batters in 51.2 innings in his sophomore season with the Huskies.
Connor Rusch will also return for 2015. This officially continues the tradition of having a New Mexico Lobo don the Express orange and black; at least one Lobo has played for the team every year since the team’s inception in 2005. In the 2014 NWL season, Rusch had the lowest ERA on the team at 2.43 and finished the season with a 2-2 record in five starts and nine appearances. Rusch struck out 11 while walking only 11 in 33.1 innings pitched. Rusch enters his sophomore season for the Lobos in 2015.
Peter Van Gansen is the final returner for the Express in the 2015 season. He will look to continue to dazzle the Carson Park crowd with his speed and defensive ability at shortstop. In 2014, Van Gansen hit .250, scoring 29 times, batting in 24 runs, crushing one home run, stealing 18 bases, and sporting a .397 on-base percentage. Van Gansen was named to the NWL Showcase roster during the 2014 season in addition to being named NWL Player of the Night on August 1st for a 3 for 5, six RBI performance against Alexandria. Van Gansen plays his college ball for Cal Poly where last season he hit .286 while posting a .427 on-base percentage.
The Express begin their 11th season of play in the Northwoods League on May 26th as they take on the Border Cats in Thunder Bay. Eau Claire’s home opener is scheduled for May 28 versus the Duluth Huskies. First pitch of that contest will be at 6:35 PM. Season tickets and voucher packs are on sale now and single-game tickets will go on sale May 1st.