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Rochester moves into first place tie, Alexandria shocks Willmar.

As the first half of 2015 comes to an end, playoff bids are up in the air in both divisions, as the leaders hold slim margins over the rest of the field. The Honkers jumped into first place in the North Division, as result of the Stingers being upset by the Blue Anchors. Madison blanked the Rafters, sustaining their one game lead for second place amongst the South. 

 

Wisconsin 5, Battle Creek 0

The Woodchucks broke out to an early lead and coasted to a shutout series split in Battle Creek. Matt Smith (Georgetown) started off the game, going 6 2/3 scoreless innings, allowing eight hits and struck out four, while reliever Connor Kelly (Central Michigan) completed the rest of the shutout performance. A pair of Chucks carried the team as L.J. Hatch (Johnson County C.C.) and Max Ponzurick (Virginia Tech) combined for four hits and four RBIs in the win. Bombers 3rd baseman Michael Sanderson (Cal Poly) went 2-for-3 with a walk, as Battle Creek fell to 12-17, losing six of their last ten games.

Waterloo 6, Eau Claire 2

Bouncing back from their blow out loss the previous night, the Bucks rebounded to take the series finale against the Express. Right fielder Taylor Lane (Florida) hit a two-run home run in the 3rd inning, giving him two in his last four games. Waterloo’s starter Doug Hayes (Illinois) was strong off the mound, going 5 1/3 innings, giving up a run on four hits and struck out won, moving to 1-1 on the year. Sean Trimble (Long Beach State) was sensational in relief, going the rest of the way, and picking up a save in his 3 2/3 innings of work. Express outfielder Daniel Jipping (Central Michigan) contributed a three-hit night, as Eau Claire dropped their 17th game of the first half.

Alexandria 5, Willmar 2

The Blue Anchors responded to a narrow loss the previous night, stunning the North-leading Stingers. Alexandria’s 1st baseman Matt Hopfner (Northwestern) went 2-for-3 with a solo home run, giving him his first of the season, while outfielder Kyle Richardson (Notre Dame) recorded a two-RBI double. Reliever Ciji Ramos (Arkansas) overcame his past struggles, tossing three innings, giving up a run on three hits, striking out two as he improved to 1-3. Stingers 2nd baseman Brian Pruett (Florida Gulf Coast) hit a solo home run, as Willmar has fallen into a first place tie with the Honkers in the division.

Rochester 11, Kalamazoo 2

Rochester scored nine runs in the last three innings of the game, as they blew away the Growlers for the series sweep. The Honkers were led by a trio of Dempsey Grover (UC-Santa Barbara), Cole Krzmarzick (Nevada), and Mark Contreras (UC-Riverside) who all picked up two RBIs each, as Rochester moved into first place with Willmar in the North Division. Jayson Yano (Stevens Institute) collected his second straight win, and fourth of the year, going seven innings, giving up two runs (one earned) on four hits, while fanning three batters. Growlers 1st baseman Jordan Stading (Houston) turned in a two hit effort in the loss, dropping Kalamazoo to 7-23, losing their fifth consecutive game.

Madison 3, Wisconsin Rapids 0

The Mallards maintained their second place mark in the South, blanking the Rafters and taking game two of the road series at Witter Field. Led by Dalton D’Spain’s (Texas A&M Corpus Christi) dominant performance, the righty went six innings, allowing two hits and striking out a season-high nine batters, earning Pitcher of the Night honors. Madison’s catcher Jason Goldstein (Illinois) broke the scoreless tie in the 6th inning with a two-run blast, providing the game-changing hit. Rapids designated hitter Sam Tolleson (Central Florida) added to his three-game hit streak, going 1-for-4, as the team as a whole only registered three hits on the night, and tumbled to a game below .500.

La Crosse 3, Kenosha 2

La Crosse grinded out their third straight victory, holding off a late Kenosha rally and sweeping the Kingfish at home. Starter Mark Ecker (Texas A&M) was terrific in his Loggers debut, throwing five innings, giving up a run on three hits and striking out four, earning the win. Closer Ty Provencher (Long Beach State) threw a scoreless 9th inning, sitting down all three batters in a row as he registered his fifth save of the year. Kenosha’s designated hitter Jason Scholl (Eastern Illinois) smashed his fifth bomb of the year, tying a league-best for home runs, while Kenosha has now dropped their sixth-straight contest and now holds a single game lead in the South.

Green Bay 7, Lakeshore 1

In a battle for a South Division playoff spot, Green Bay pitching shut down the streaky Chinooks and earning the series stalemate. Nathan Disch (Jacksonville) was stellar in his starting performance, turning in five innings of work, surrendering a run on five hits, while tying a season-best six batters. The Loggers bullpen stole the show, as they no-hit the Lakeshore lineup through the last four innings in the victory. Bullfrogs’ shortstop Mikey Duarte (UC-Irvine) contributed a hit, with a pair of runs and RBIs, while right fielder Robb Paller (Columbia) went 2-for-3 with an RBI and run scored. Chinooks’ outfielder David Edson (USC) added to his four-game hit streak, going 1-for-2 with two walks and scoring the lone run of the game.

Duluth 8, St. Cloud 1

The Huskies poured on the runs in game two of their road series in St. Cloud, remaining just a half game behind first place. Kevin Folman (North Dakota State) dazzled off the mound, working 5 2/3 innings, giving up a run on eight hits and struck out a batter, moving to 1-2 on the year. Duluth’s catcher Holden Cammack (Oral Roberts) remains impressive in his series debut with the team, recording three RBIs for the second-straight night. Rox catcher Austin Athmann (Minnesota) got on base three times, with two hits and a walk, as St. Cloud has now faltered a game behind first place in the standings.

Mankato 9, Thunder Bay 8

In a late-innings fireworks show, the MoonDogs entered the 9th inning down 8-4, and scored a stunning five runs, walking off against the visiting Border Cats. Catcher Kevin Hall (North Alabama) took the heroic-role of the night, singling home Craig Nenning (Ohio State) and provided the game-winning hit. Hall finished 2-for-4 on the night, with two RBIs. Kyle Goodbrand (Saddleback C.C.) collected his first victory, throwing two innings of relief, giving up an earned run on four hits, striking out two. Thunder Bay’s leadoff man Jared James (Long Beach State) continues his tear at the plate, registering three hits for the second-straight night, giving him eight hits in three games.

 

Thursday’s Schedule

Battle Creek @ Green Bay 5:35/7:05 PM (Doubleheader)

Alexandria @ Duluth 6:35 PM

Mankato @ Lakeshore 6:35 PM

Madison @ Kenosha 7:05 PM

La Crosse @ Wisconsin Rapids 7:05 PM

Wisconsin @ Kalamazoo 7:05 PM

Rochester @ Thunder Bay 7:05 PM

Waterloo @ Willmar 7:05 PM

Eau Claire @ St. Cloud 7:05 PM