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Willmar sweeps twin bill over Duluth, St. Cloud takes two from Mankato.

As the 2015 season comes to a close, Mother Nature played another important factor, resulting in two different ballgames becoming cancelled due to inclement weather. In the North Division, the two heavyweights proved themselves Friday night, as Willmar and St. Cloud continued their dominance, sweeping their respected doubleheaders. Madison continued their title as the hottest team in the league, winning their seventh consecutive game in a blowout victory over the visiting Bombers. 

 

Alexandria 8, Eau Claire 0 (Game One, 7 Innings)

The Blue Anchors cruised to a game one victory over Eau Claire, holding the Express lineup to just three hits and collecting their 17th win of the second half. Ricky Sanchez (Notre Dame) shined in the victory, going 3-for-4 with a pair of home runs and knocked in four RBIs, while scoring three times, while shortstop Dane Hutcheon (Montevallo) recorded his second bomb of the year, finishing with a pair of RBIs. Alexandria’s starter Max Knutson (Nebraska) picked up his team-high sixth victory, throwing five scoreless innings, giving up just one hit and striking out a half-dozen batters. Eau Claire did not have much to be prideful about in the loss, but outfielder Austin Listi (Dallas Baptist) went 1-for-2 with a walk, as his team dropped to 15-19.  

Eau Claire 9, Alexandria 4 (Game Two, 7 Innings)

In the nightcap of the Friday doubleheader, the Express scored at least one run in the final five innings, splitting the twin bill against Alexandria. Eau Claire’s top two batters carried their team to victory as Brady Burzynski (UW-Stout) and Kyle Marinconz (Cal Poly) supplied five RBIs on five hits, pacing the Express offensively. Alex McIntosh (UW-Milwaukee) moved to 2-1 on the season, throwing 3 1/3 innings of relief, giving up a run on five hits and punching out a pair of batters. Alexandria’s left fielder Kyle Richardson (Notre Dame) recorded a solo home run in the loss, his fourth bomb of the year, as the Blue Anchors dropped back a game behind .500 at 17-18.

Willmar 9, Duluth 8 (Game One, 10 Innings)

Picking up off their suspended game from last night, Willmar and Duluth found themselves in an offensive shootout, while the Stingers triumphed in the end, walking off against the Huskies in an unbelieavable comeback. After Duluth pulled ahead 8-7 in the top of the 10th, Willmar responded with two runs, with Dan Motl (Minnesota) hitting his third home run to tie the game, while Reagan Fowler (Creighton) supplied the game-winner, singling home Eddie Estrada (Minnesota) for their 21st win. Reliever Corey Binger (Nebraska-Omaha) earned his first win, tossing the final three innings, allowing a run on four hits, and being compensated by the walk off win. Duluth’s right fielder Colton Wagner (San Diego) had a terrific night in part one of the Friday doubleheader, going 2-for-6, crushing his second home run and totaling four RBIs in the loss.

Willmar 2, Duluth 1 (Game Two, 9 Innings)

In a battle between two playoff-bound North Division teams, the Stingers completed the doubleheader sweep of Duluth and advancing to 22-13 in the second stanza. Eddie Estrada (Minnesota) pushed his hitting streak to a modest four games, going 2-for-4 with an RBI, pacing his team offensively. Willmar’s bullpen proved to be the difference, as Jonny Ortiz (Daytona State) pitched three scoreless innings of relief, giving up three hits and struck out three, picking up his second win, while star closer Brady Anderson (Florida Gulf Coast) notched his league-leading 18th save, throwing a flawless final frame. Duluth fell back to 19-15, but were supplied with a solid night at the plate by 1st baseman Alex Wojciechowski (Minnesota-Duluth) who provided all of his team’s offense, going 3-for-4, driving in his 25th RBI.

St. Cloud 6, Mankato 2 (Game One, 7 Innings)

St. Cloud eased their way to victory in game one, quieting the Mankato lineup and building upon their solid second half lead in the North Division, winning their fifth straight game. Rox 1st baseman Austin Athmann (Minnesota) carried his team’s offense, extending his hit streak to five games with two hits and driving in three RBIs. Starter Lucas Gilbreath (Minnesota) kept his perfect record clean, moving to 5-0 with a solid pitching performance, giving 4 2/3 innings of work, giving up two runs on five hits and striking out a season-high eight batters. MoonDogs’ center fielder Christoph Bono (UCLA) was one the only Mankato batter to record a multi-hit effort in game one, going 2-for-3 with an RBI and a run scored, while his team fell to 13-20 in the second half.

St. Cloud 7, Mankato 5 (Game Two, 8 Innings)

The Rox plated three runs in the 7th to force extra innings, and scored two more in the top of the 8th to shock Mankato for the doubleheader sweep, and winning their sixth straight game. Austin Athmann (Minnesota) continued his impressive day at the plate, singling home Joe Tietjen (UNC-Asheville) to make it 6-5, while Kyle Serrano (Colorado Mesa) took a bases loaded walk, giving his team an insurance run. Reliever Brian Glowicki (Minnesota) threw two perfect innings out of the bullpen, striking out two and pushing his mark to a terrific 5-0 on the year. Mankato’s David Metzgar (Cal State Bakersfield) went 2-for-3 with an RBI, as the MoonDogs fell into a last place tie in the North, losing their third straight game.

Lakeshore 13, Wisconsin 4

The Chinooks jumped out to a 6-0 lead after two innings, then scored another six runs in the 9th inning, as they routed the Woodchucks at home, rounding out the season on a high note, riding a three game win streak. Eight of the nine Lakeshore batters recorded hits on the night, but were led by Colby Fitch (Louisville) and Zarley Zalewski (Kent State) who combined for five hits, six RBIs, and four runs. Starter Zac Lowther (Xavier) moved back to .500 at 4-4, registering a quality start with six innings of work, surrendering three runs on six hits, tying a season-high mark of seven strikeouts. Chucks’ center fielder Jared Oliva (Arizona) contributed a stellar effort in the loss, going 3-for-4 with a pair of runs and RBIs, while recording his fourth bomb of the year, while Wisconsin fell to 12-23.

Madison 17, Battle Creek 7

The Mallards blew out the Bombers, scoring 15 runs after three innings, as their offensive explosion led to their seven straight victory. Madison’s lineup was sensational all night, as Jake Roberts (Yakima Valley C.C.) and Cameron Frost (Washington State) each recorded grand slams, while Tony Butler (Madison College) hit a three-run shot, as the trio combined for eight hits and twelve RBIs. Sterling Sharp (Drury University) tossed 1 2/3 innings of relief out of the bullpen, giving up a pair of runs and striking out a batter, advancing to 2-0 on the year. Battle Creek’s star 1st baseman Dre Gleason (Austin Peay) went 2-for-4 with a pair of runs scored, while hitting his third home run and driving in four RBIs, giving him a team-high 30 on the season, as the Bombers lost their third consecutive game. 

Waterloo 3, Rochester 2

Waterloo jumped out to an early lead, and limited the playoff bound Honkers, completing the final home series with a series sweep of Rochester. Tyler Selesky (Florida Gulf Coast) provided the spark offensively, registering his fifth home run of the year, while 1st baseman Jonah Bride (Neosho County C.C.) got on base in all three plate appearances, hitting a double and walking twice. Taylor Gilson (Wartburg College) entered with an out in the 6th inning, and completed the game, shutting down the Rochester lineup, allowing just one hit through 3 2/3 innings of work, striking out four batters and collecting his first win. Rochester’s catcher Slade Heggen (Oregon) was perfect at the dish, going 3-for-3 with a walk, and scoring once, as the Honkers have begun to slide entering the postseason, losing their fourth consecutive ballgame.

Kenosha 7, Kalamazoo 2

Continuing to build upon their league-best record, the Kingfish clinched the South Division for both halves of the season, scoring five runs in the final two innings and defeating Kalamazoo. Pat McInerney (Illinois) recorded his second home run of 2015, hitting a solo home run and finishing with two hits on the night as 1st baseman Jeremy Vasquez (Florida) supplied another two-RBI night in back-to-back contests. Using a platoon of pitchers to save their arms for the playoffs, reliever J.R. Holloway (San Jacinto C.C.) threw a scoreless 7th inning, striking out a pair of batters, pushing his record to 3-1. Kalamazoo’s Justin Fletcher (Northern Illinois) went 1-for-4 with an RBI in the loss, but pushed his hitting streak to a team record 15 games.  

Wisconsin Rapids vs. Thunder Bay (Cancelled)

Tonight’s series finale between Wisconsin Rapids and Thunder Bay has been cancelled due to heavy rainfall. Since both teams do not play each other, there is no makeup date scheduled for this game.

Green Bay vs. La Crosse (Cancelled)

Tonight’s series finale between Green Bay and La Crosse has been cancelled due to heavy rainfall. Since both teams do not play each other, there is no makeup date scheduled for this game.

 

Saturday’s Schedule

Madison @ La Crosse 5:05/7:05 PM (Doubleheader)

Rochester @ Alexandria 5:05 PM

Kenosha @ St. Cloud 6:05 PM

Eau Claire @ Mankato 6:05 PM

Green Bay @ Wisconsin Rapids 6:05 PM

Kalamazoo @ Lakeshore 6:35 PM

Waterloo @ Willmar 7:05 PM

Duluth @ Thunder Bay 7:05 PM

Battle Creek @ Wisconsin 7:05 PM