With the Mankato MoonDogs and Thunder Bay Border Cats playing two games, 10 games were played in the Northwoods League on Wednesday. We saw several close games, including three that finished in the 10th inning. The league saw a big increase in runs and hits on the second night of action after opening night was dominated by pitching. Wednesday night's games also featured a pair of game-winning balks.
Madison 10, Battle Creek 5
The Madison Mallards came out swinging on Wednesday afternoon in a 10-5 victory over the Battle Creek Bombers on the road. The Mallards began the season 2-0 by pounding out 20 hits, and five players had more than one hit. Madison rallied for five runs in the top of the first inning and by the fourth inning, the Mallards had an 8-0 advantage. Cameron Frost (Washington State) finished 4-for-6 with a run scored, and Lucas Halstead (Pacific) hit 5-for-6 and scored three runs. Patrick Boyle (Drew University) allowed one earned run on five hits and two walks with four strikeouts in five innings of work.
Mankato 15, Thunder Bay 6 (Game 1)
The Mankato MoonDogs picked up where they left off in last night's game, which was suspended after three innings of play when Mankato led 6-2. The MoonDogs rallied for 17 hits and 15 runs in the first game of the doubleheader to beat the Thunder Bay Border Cats 15-6 on Wednesday. Mankato shortstop Alvaro Rubalcaba (Cal St. Northfield) hit 2-for-5 with a solo home run to earn the Northwoods League Position Player of the Night award. Thunder Bay rightfielder Rob Andreoli (LIU Post) finished 3-for-4 with a walk in the loss.
Mankato 4, Thunder Bay 0 (Game 2)
Alvero Rubalcaba (Cal St. Northfield) recorded his second two-hit game of the day, as the Mankato MoonDogs won 4-0 to sweep the Thunder Bay Border Cats in Wednesday's doubleheader. Rubalcaba hit 2-for-2 with a walk, RBI and run scored in the seven-inning game. The winning pitcher was righthander Jordan Harms (NDSU), who threw five shutout innings and allowed two hits with two walks and five strikeouts for the MoonDogs.
Lakeshore 3, Kalamazoo 1
The Lakeshore Chinooks beat out the Kalamazoo Growlers 3-1 on Wednesday in a pitching battle that was won by Joey Abraham (Vanderbilt). Abraham threw five innings, allowed a run on three hits and five walks with five strikeouts in the victory. Lakeshore opened up the scoring in the top of the fifth with a run-scoring single from Jake Kolasinski (UW-Parkside), and Alec Olund (Purdue) drove in a run on a groundout to the shortstop. Keenan Bartlett (Richmond) finished out the game with a four-inning save in which he did not allow a run and struck out two batters.
Kenosha 7, La Crosse 6
The defending champion Kenosha Kingfish won their second consecutive game on Wednesday against the La Crosse Loggers, and both games were won by just one run in the 10th inning. In the bottom of the 10th with runners at the corners with one out and Kian O'Brien (Madison College) at the plate, La Crosse was called for a balk for the walk-off victory for the Kingfish. Derek Heffel (Madison College) pitched just 1/3 of an inning and earned the win. Centerfielder Nick Kanavas (Madison College) hit 2-for-5 with two RBIs and a run scored for Kenosha.
Rockford 14, Wisconsin 6
The Rockford Rivets exploded for nine runs in the fourth inning, as they won their first game in franchise history 14-6 over the Wisconsin Woodchucks on Wednesday. Both teams recorded a whopping 12 hits each, and defense was an issue for both teams as they combined for seven errors. Rockford third baseman Jordan Hovey (Missouri State) hit 2-for-3 with two walks, two runs scored and two RBIs. Lefty Kacey Murphy (Arkansas) earned the victory in 3 1/3 innings of relief with five strikeouts for the Rivets.
Waterloo 4, St. Cloud 3
The Waterloo Bucks took Game 2 of their series against the St. Cloud Rox 4-3 in a walk-off win on Wednesday. With one out in the bottom of the 10th and runners at the corners, pinch-hitter Jake Adams (Concordia) hit a ground ball to shortstop, who threw to second for the out, but Adams beat the throw to first to avoid the double play, and Adam McGinnis (Western Illinois) scored from third. McGinnis also led the Bucks in hitting, finishing 2-for-5 with a RBI, a stolen base and a run scored. Brandon Downey (Maryville University) earned the victory in two scoreless innings of relief.
Duluth 5, Willmar 4
The Duluth Huskies were able to survive Wednesday night's game after the Willmar Stingers scored a pair of runs in the bottom of the ninth to cut the lead to 1. With two outs, Brian Moore (St. Johns River State) singled in a run, and the Stingers scored again on a bases-loaded walk. Trevino Rodriguez (Villanova) got Greg Lambert (Southern Illinois) to ground out to third base to end the game and earn the save. Righthander Martin Alcoverde (St. Scholastica) came away with the victory, allowing one run on three hits with no walks and three strikeouts in five innings.
Wisconsin Rapids 3, Green Bay 2
The Wisconsin Rapids Rafters defeated the Green Bay Bullfrogs on a walk-off home run from second baseman Jake Lumley (Canisius) to lead off the bottom of the 10th inning at Witter Field. Rob Calabrese (Illinois-Chicago) singled to score a run in the bottom of the eighth to tie the game at 2. Gareth Stroh (Coffeyville CC) threw seven innings for Wisconsin Rapids and allowed an earned run on three hits and no walks with seven strikeouts. Green Bay's Luke Lind (North Dakota State University) earned the Northwoods League Pitcher of the Night, allowing no earned runs on three hits and three walks with five strikeouts over six innings of work.
Eau Claire 8, Rochester 7
The Eau Claire Express scored two runs in the top of the ninth inning to take an 8-7 lead over the Rochester Honkers. Daulton Varsho (UW-Milwaukee) hit a solo home run to the the game, and a balk gave the Express a one-run advantage. Dylan Smith (Weatherford College) struck out the side in the bottom of the ninth for the save. Varsho hit 4-for-5 with four RBIs and three runs scored for Eau Claire. The Express pounded out 14 hits, while the Honkers recorded 11.
Madison @ Rockford (6:35 PM)
Kenosha @ Green Bay (6:35 PM)
St. Cloud @ La Crosse (7:05 PM)
Mankato @ Rochester (7:05 PM)
Wisconsin @ Wisconsin Rapids (7:05 PM)
Duluth @ Thunder Bay (7:05 PM)
Lakeshore @ Waterloo (7:05 PM)
Eau Claire @ Willmar (7:05 PM)
Kalamazoo @ Battle Creek (7:05 PM)