Kenosha holds off Madison, Lakeshore and Willmar walk off Thursday night.
Thursday night's contests were filled with dominant pitching performances and late-inning heroics as several of the top teams in both divisions squeaked out narrow victories. Lakeshore and Willmar both brought home crucial wins as they witnessed game-winning performances, late in the ballgame. Green Bay swept the Bombers in a home doubleheader, inching into a tie for second place with Madison in the South.
Green Bay 4, Battle Creek 0 (Game One, 7 Innings)
The Bullfrogs started off the contest with a three-run 2nd inning, taking game one of their Thursday doubleheader against the Bombers. Green Bay’s designated hitter Ryan Donovan (Hofstra) went 2-for-2, while recording his league-best 28th RBI of the season, as they continue to sit just a game behind Madison for second place in the division. Starter Alex Martinez (De Anza College) was phenomenal off the mound, tossing six scoreless innings, allowing no runs on three hits and striking out three as he improved to 2-1 on the year, lowering his ERA to a 2.25 mark. Bombers shortstop Lin Li (Taiwan) was the only player in the lineup to record multiple hits as Battle Creek fell to 12-18 in the first half.
Green Bay 3, Battle Creek 1 (Game Two, 7 Innings)
Green Bay scored runs in the 5th and 6th inning, battling back to sweep the doubleheader against the Bombers, and moving into a tie for second place with the Madison Mallards. Matthew De La Rosa (Lenoir-Rhyne) supplied a sacrifice fly RBI, giving him 14 on the year, giving him an RBI in his last three games. Reliever Connor Donovan (Lehigh) pitched three scoreless innings, allowing a pair of hits, while striking out an impressive five batters, picking up his third victory. Bombers 3rd baseman Michael Sanderson (Cal Poly) provided two hits and an triple, as Battle Creek has now dropped seven of their last ten ballgames.
Wisconsin 4, Kalamazoo 1
Led by Yusuke Akitoshi’s (Cal State Northridge) solo home run in the 8th inning, the Woodchucks broke a 1-1 tie and stole the series opener in Kalamazoo. The home run was Akitoshi’s first of the season and boosted his hit streak to an impressive eight straight games. Dylan Dwyer (Kentucky) shut down the Growlers lineup throughout, going seven innings, allowing a run on two hits and striking out six batters, as Dwyer has now won games in back-to-back appearances. Starter Matt Frawley (Purdue) held the Chucks lineup in check through seven, as he gave up just one run and five hits, striking out a season-high eight, but earned a no-decision for his efforts as he was never supplied with any run support.
Thunder Bay 5, Rochester 3
The Border Cats scored four runs in the 8th inning as they completed a comeback effort, while handing the Honkers a devastating road loss. Catcher Nate Nolan (St. Mary’s) provided the clutch hit of the night, clubbing a three-run home run and putting his team ahead for the eventual victory. Kyle Von Ruden (Hawaii) tossed a complete game effort, giving up all three runs on just four hits, while striking out a half-dozen, moving to 2-2 on the year. Mark Contreras (UC-Riverside) went 1-for-4 with an RBI and run scored, as the Honkers have fallen into a second-place tie with Duluth in the division.
Lakeshore 5, Mankato 4 (11 Innings)
In interleague play, the Chinooks hosted Mankato for game one of their series, which resulted in extra innings, which Lakeshore overcoming in extra innings. Zarley Zalewski contributed the game-winner as he hit a sacrifice fly in the 11th, scoring David Edson (USC) and collecting the walk off win, and moving two games ahead of Madison for second place. Jake Tuttle (UW-Milwaukee) was stellar in relief, throwing the final three innings, giving up no runs or hits and struck out three, earning his first win. Mankato’s designated hitter Jack Flansburg (Cypress C.C.) was terrific in a losing effort, going 2-for-4 with a pair of walks and RBIs as the MoonDogs dropped to 15-15 in the first half.
Duluth 12, Alexandria 10
A North Division offensive outbreak took place in Duluth, as the Huskies took back the lead with a three-run 7th inning, and moved into a half-game behind Willmar. Duluth’s leadoff man Cal Stevenson (Nevada) recorded three RBIs and two runs, while walking three times, and swiped his seventh bag of the year. Closer Austin Carpenter (North Alabama) shut the door in the 9th inning, earning his fifth save of the season. Blue Anchors batters Ricky Sanchez (Notre Dame) and Jake Merrigan (North Carolina) combined for seven hits and six RBIs, as Alexandria dropped their 21st game of the first half.
St. Cloud 11, Eau Claire 4
The Rox scored multiple runs in five different innings, derailing the Express and advancing to a half game out of second place in the North standings. St. Cloud 1st baseman Austin Athmann (Minnesota) contributed a three-run bomb, giving him his second of the year. Starter Zach Pop (Kentucky) registered his first win of the season, going six strong innings, allowing three runs on seven hits and punching out five. Eau Claire’s Travon Benton (New Mexico J.C.) provided two hits and his seventh RBI, as the Express lost their second straight game.
Willmar 2, Waterloo 1
The Stingers and Bucks stalemated into a 1-1 tie going into the 9th inning, but 2nd baseman Brian Pruett (Florida Gulf Coast) singled home pinch runner Billy Quirke (Triton), walking off against the Bucks at home. Starter Tyler Hanson (Minnesota) pitched brilliantly, throwing eight innings and struck out seven, while reliever Dakota Belter (Minnesota State) picked up his third win, throwing a shutout 9th and earning a victory in result of the walk off. Bucks center fielder Alex Boxwell (Minnesota) went 2-for-3 with an RBI as Waterloo has slipped into a 1 ½ game behind a playoff spot in the North.
Kenosha 5, Madison 2
In a battle a top the South Division standings, Kenosha snapped their six-game skid, holding off the Mallards and building upon their South Division lead. Kingfish ace Josh Serio (UW-Parkside) tossed 7 1/3 innings, giving up no runs and two hits, while striking out nine, giving him a league-leading 43. Brody Westmoreland (San Diego State) went 1-for-2 with an RBI and scored once, pacing the Kingfish lineup. Mallards’ catcher Jean Ramirez (Illinois State) had a perfect night at the plate, going 2-for-2 and scored once, as Madison now remains in second place, and two games behind Kenosha.
La Crosse 7, Wisconsin Rapids 1
In a rain-soaked Thursday night contest, the Loggers bats provided a consistent effort, winning their fourth-straight and staying a half game behind second place in the South Division. Loggers 3rd baseman Chris Baker (Washington) supplied a two-run double, leading his team to a big road win. Reliever Ryan Marks (Columbia) jumped to 2-1 on the year, going an innings and allowing a hit, and striking out a batter. Rafters’ Beau Jordan (LSU) was sensational in his third appearance with the team, going 4-for-4 with an RBI and a walk, as Wisconsin Rapids has just two games in their last ten contests.
Alexandria @ Duluth 6:35 PM
Mankato @ Lakeshore 6:35 PM
Wisconsin @ Kalamazoo 7:05 PM
Kenosha @ Madison 7:05 PM
Eau Claire @ St. Cloud 7:05 PM
Wisconsin Rapids @ La Crosse 7:05 PM
Waterloo @ Willmar 7:05 PM
Battle Creek @ Green Bay 7:05 PM
Rochester @ Thunder By 7:05 PM