Late-inning heroics storyline Friday night’s games.
As the first half of the 2015 season comes to a close, teams are doing whatever is necessary to become playoff eligible, as several games were determined in the final innings tonight. Madison routed Kenosha, narrowing their South Division lead to just a single game. In the North, Willmar completed the series sweep over Waterloo, conserving their slim lead amongst the division as well.
Kalamazoo 4, Wisconsin 3
After battling to a 1-1 tie through six innings, the Woodchucks scored two runs in the top of the 7th, followed by a three-run bottom half by the Growlers, leading Kalamazoo to their 8th win of the season. Jordan Stading (Houston) provided the clutch game-changing hit, as his two-run single in the 7th inning put his team ahead for good. Growlers starter Shane Bryant (Purdue) was solid throughout, going six innings, allowing a run on four hits and struck out three, but factored a no-decision. Closer Nick Wernke (West Virginia) pitched a perfect 9th inning, picking up his second save of the season. Chucks’ 2nd baseman Ty Black (Ohio) contributed a two-run single in the losing effort, as Wisconsin fell to 11-20 on the year.
Rochester 6, Thunder Bay 3
The Honkers rebounded from their game one loss in the series opener by taking game two on the road in Thunder Bay. Left fielder Cole Krzmarzick (Nevada) paced the Rochester offense with three hits and two RBIs, as the Honkers currently remain just a half game out of first place in the North. Joshua Pigg (Hawaii) earned his first victory of the 2015 campaign, going five innings, giving up a run, three hits, and struck out four, while Spencer Greer, sat down all nine batters he faced in three innings of relief, collecting his fifth save of the season. Border Cats’ right fielder Joe Gellenbeck (Xavier) went 1-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored, as Thunder Bay has now lost seven of their last ten ballgames.
Alexandria 5, Duluth 2
Alexandria scored the final three runs of the game, handing Duluth a devastating loss at home. Outfielder Anthony Marks (Coastal Carolina) went 3-for-4 with an RBI and run scored, while Ricky Sanchez (Notre Dame) tied a league-best mark, smashing his fifth bomb of the year. Max Knutson (Nebraska) pitched a gem tonight, going eight full innings, allowing two runs on six hits and tying a season-best with seven strikeouts, improving his record to 3-2. Huskies 2nd baseman Alex Greene (West Florida) registered a pair of hits and RBIs, as Duluth fell to a game out of playoff contention in their division.
Mankato 5, Lakeshore 1
The MoonDogs battled to a series stalemate in Lakeshore, taking game two of their interleague bout. Outfielder Hunter Mercado-Hood (San Diego) had a stellar night at the dish, going 3-for-3 with three RBIs, improving his hit streak to four games. Mankato’s starter Grant Hamilton (Oklahoma City) continues to shine off the mound, going 5 1/3 innings, allowing a run on six hits, striking out a pair, and remaining undefeated with a 3-0 record. Chinooks’ Kyle Fiala (Notre Dame) turned in a two-hit night with a triple, as Lakeshore fell a game out of a playoff spot in the South.
Madison 11, Kenosha 4
In the battle amongst South Division supremacy, the Mallards took a 4-0 lead after the 1st inning, which led to a blowout victory over the Kingfish. Madison found great success tonight in the long ball as four different batters recorded home runs including Anthony Gonsolin (St. Mary’s), Jose Ramirez (Illinois State), Chris Tschida (Western Illinois), and Cameron Frost (Washington State). Building off his previous start, Matt Bower (Washington State) earned his second victory, going six innings, surrendering an earned run on six hits, and striking out four. Kenosha’s left fielder Alex Dunlap (Stanford) went 2-for-5 with a double, triple, and one RBI as the Kingfish retain a single game lead over Madison for the first half crown.
St. Cloud 6, Eau Claire 2
The Rox completed a huge series sweep against the Express, moving into a second place tie with Rochester in the North. Jake Farr (Tennessee Tech) and Brandon Benson (Georgia College) each recorded two hits and scored once, pacing their team to victory. St. Cloud starter Domenick Carlini (S.E. Louisiana) turned in a quality pitching performance, going seven innings, allowing an earned run, eight hits and struck out five, moving to 2-0 on the season. Kyle Marinconz (Cal Poly) and Nathan Krause (Winona State) both recorded three hits, as the Express fell to 12-19 in the first half.
Wisconsin Rapids 7, La Crosse 6
Wisconsin Rapids handed La Crosse a tough series split Friday night, holding off a late-inning rally from the Loggers, and winning their 14th game of the year. Rafters Mitchell McGeein (Eastern Michigan) and Brock Carpenter (Seattle) each recorded home runs, while combining for five hits and three RBIs. Adam Hall (Xavier) did not have his best start of the season, but pitched five innings, gave up five runs (three earned) and struck out a trio of batters, and advanced to 2-2 with his first win in almost an entire month. Loggers’ designated hitter Brock Lundquist (Long Beach State) registered his first home run of the season, giving him an RBI in four straight contests, while La Crosse fell to 1 ½ games behind a playoff spot in the South Division.
Willmar 4, Waterloo 2
Scoring runs in the 7th and 8th innings, the Stingers collected an enormous series of the Bucks, while maintaining their North Division reign. Willmar’s Brian Kehner (Presbyterian) carried the team to victory, hurling four innings of relief, in which he did not allow a walk, hit, or run, and struck out four, collecting his first win on the season. Pacing the Stingers lineup was last night’s hero Brian Pruett (Florida Gulf Coast) continued to stay hot, going 2-for-2 with a pair of walks and RBIs, while recording his second home run. Waterloo’s 3rd baseman Taylor Lane (Florida) went 2-for-3 with two RBIs as the Bucks fell two games back of a playoff bid, and will need a special form of help to earn a postseason spot in the first half.
Green Bay 8, Battle Creek 7
The Bullfrogs battled back from a 7-2 deficit, scoring the last six runs of the game, and stealing a win from the Bombers, giving them their fourth-straight win. Taking advantage of Battle Creek’s four errors in the game, Green Bay was paced again by their star batter Ryan Donovan (Hofstra), who seemingly provides a solid performance every night, going 2-for-5 with an RBI, giving him a league-leading 29 on the year. Reliever Jake Stolley (Northwestern) picked up his first win, sitting down all five batters he faced, and lowering his ERA to a miniscule 0.77. Battle Creek was led by outfielder Brennon Lund (BYU), who added a trio of hits and RBIs, as the Bombers took another tough loss on their first half campaign.
Waterloo @ Thunder Bay 6:05 PM
Alexandria @ St. Cloud 6:05 PM
Mankato @ Kenosha 6:05 PM
Wisconsin @ La Crosse 6:05 PM
Eau Claire @ Willmar 6:05 PM
Wisconsin Rapids @ Madison 6:05 PM
Rochester @ Duluth 6:35 PM
Green Bay @ Battle Creek 7:05 PM
Lakeshore @ Kalamazoo 7:05 PM