Madison walks off, Alexandria wins third-straight contest.
Returning off the All-Star break, several divisional races begin to narrow, as Duluth took down the North-leading Rox by a slim margin, closing their lead to 1 1/2 games. Madison continues to stay hot as they provided a stunning comeback victory, walking off against La Crosse at home. Alexandria earned their third straight victory, continuing to shock the league, as they are just two games behind St. Cloud for the divisional crown.
Eau Claire 7, Rochester 3
Entering the final stretch of the regular season, Eau Claire earned their second consecutive victory, as they scored four runs in the 3rd inning, taking the series opener in Rochester. Fresh off returning from Wisconsin Rapids, Daulton Varsho (UW-Milwaukee) paced the offense, going 3-for-5 with an RBI, while 1st baseman Daniel Jipping (Central Michigan) hit a solo shot, giving him two on the year. Starter Erich Uelmen (Cal Poly) earned Pitcher of the Night honors, throwing seven shutout innings, allowing just three hits and punching out a season-high nine batters, moving to 3-1. Honkers’ 3rd baseman Adam Walton (Illinois) knocked in two RBIs, giving him eight for the season, as Rochester dropped their third straight contest.
Willmar 6, Waterloo 3
The Stingers scored three runs in the 7th and 8th inning, coming back to steal a late-inning victory in Waterloo, advancing into a tie for second place in the North at 12-7. Willmar’s offense was carried by both Troy Dixon (St. John’s) and Lucas Tancas (Irvine Valley), who combined for five hits and three RBIs in the winning effort. Zach Strecker (Kentucky) collected his third victory in three straight appearances, tossing eight innings, giving up three runs (two earned) and struck out five, boosting his record to 5-2, while Brady Anderson (Florida Gulf Coast) closed the door in the 9th, picking up his league-leading 13th save. Bucks’ leadoff man Tyler Selesky (Florida Gulf Coast) extended his hit-streak to six games, going 3-for-4 and scoring a pair of runs, sliding into 10-9 with three consecutive losses.
Duluth 2, St. Cloud 1
Duluth plated runs in the 7th and 8th frame, taking a big road victory against the North-leading Rox, advancing into a tie amongst second place with Willmar in the North Division. The Huskies’ pitching staff combined for a terrific effort off the mound, led by Hunter Kyzar (Presbyterian) tossing 4 1/3 innings of relief, giving up just a run on two hits, picking up his second victory. Catcher T.J. Martin (Kansas) provided the go-ahead run, hitting an RBI single in the 8th inning, eventually resulting in the victory. Marcus Carson (Kentucky) was terrific at the top of the lineup for St. Cloud, going 2-for-4, hitting his first triple of the season, while they still hold a 1 ½ game lead over the rest of the division.
Alexandria 11, Mankato 5
Scoring seven runs in the 8th inning, the Blue Anchors used a valiant comeback to pick up their twelfth victory, continuing to be one of the biggest surprises in the second half. Several different batters led Alexandria’s offense, as All-Star Steve Sada (Miami Ohio) went 4-for-5 with a pair of RBIs, while Matt Duce (Dallas Baptist), Trooper Reynolds (Dallas Baptist), and Jake Merrigan (North Carolina) all totaled two RBIs on the night. Reliever Tyler Hasper (Heartland C.C.) earned his second win, throwing a scoreless inning, as the Blue Anchors have now won their third straight game. Mankato’s David Metzgar (Cal State Bakersfield) provided two hits and a trio of RBIs, slugging his first homer of the season, while the MoonDogs have won just three of their last ten games.
Kenosha 13, Battle Creek 2
The Kingfish continue to hold off the rest of the South contenders, blowing out the Bombers in game one of their series, holding a 14-6 record for the second half. All-Star outfielder Eric Filia (UCLA) and Jeremy Vasquez (Florida) both connected for five hits and six RBIs, as the talented Kenosha lineup totaled fifteen hits on the night. Rico Garcia (Hawaii Pacific) got revenge from his previous start, allowing just two runs through six innings of work, tying a season-high with eight strikeouts, registering his third victory. Battle Creek’s catcher Niko Pacheco (Cal State Fullerton) was the lone batter in his lineup with multiple hits, going 2-for-3 with an RBI, as the Bombers fell to 6-14, in 8th place in the division.
Madison 5, La Crosse 4
Entering the 9th inning down 4-3, the Mallards walked off at home, backed by Jean Ramirez’s (Illinois State) two-run single, placing Madison one game behind Kenosha for the South lead. Ramirez ended the game going 2-for-5, finishing with a pair of game-changing RBIs, while leadoff man Logan Regnier (Central Michigan) was terrific, adding three hits and scoring three times. Reliever Justin Watts (Northern Kentucky) received his second victory, throwing two shutout innings, being rewarded by the game-winning hit. Loggers’ starter Kevin Flemer (Oregon State) was outstanding in the loss, throwing six innings, surrendering two runs (one earned) on five hits, striking out five, but factored a no-decision, as the bullpen could not retain their lead, falling to 13-9, in third place behind the Mallards.
Wisconsin 5, Kalamazoo 0
Picking up right where they left off from Sunday, the Woodchucks shut out the Growlers again, winning their third consecutive game, improving to .500 at 9-9. Dylan Dwyer (Kentucky) tossed a gem against the helpless Growlers offense, going seven full innings, giving up just three hits and striking out five, owning a 4-4 mark on the year. Left fielder Jared Oliva (Arizona) turned in a two-hit, two-RBI night, pacing the Chucks’ lineup. Kalamazoo’s John Soteropulos (California) was the only batter to experience a multi-hit night, going 2-for-3, while the Growlers have now dropped their sixth straight ballgame, sitting in the basement of the South Division.
Lakeshore 6, Green Bay 3
A four-run 5th inning for the Chinooks was all they needed to take their ninth game in the second stanza, upsetting the Bullfrogs at home. Lakeshore’s Jake Romano (Miami Ohio) hit his second bomb of the season, finishing with two RBIs, while catcher Colby Fitch (Louisville) added three hits and an RBI on the night. Jake Tuttle came in the second inning for relief, throwing three innings, giving up two runs and striking out two, en route to his second victory. Green Bay’s Brian Celsi (California) went 2-for-5 with a double and tripe, registering an RBI, falling into fourth place with an 11-9 record.
Thunder Bay 5, Wisconsin Rapids 3
Thunder Bay broke out of their recent funk, taking the first game back off the All-Star break, winning their second game in the last ten tries. All-Star Jared James (Long Beach State) continues to be one of the hottest batters in the entire league, recording his fourth home run, going 2-for-4 and scoring twice. Starter Zach Thiac (Nicholls State) earned his first win of the season, throwing an absolute dominant seven innings, giving up no runs and just three hits, striking out four. Rapids’ left fielder Beau Jordan (LSU) went 1-for-4 with a walk in the loss, as his team fell to 8-10 in the second half.
St. Cloud @ Duluth 6:35 PM
Eau Claire @ Rochester 7:05 PM
Mankato @ Alexandria 7:05 PM
Lakeshore @ Green Bay 7:05 PM
La Crosse @ Madison 7:05 PM
Kenosha @ Battle Creek 7:05 PM
Kalamazoo @ Wisconsin 7:05 PM
Willmar @ Waterloo 7:05 PM
Wisconsin Rapids @ Thunder Bay 7:05 PM