Walk-Off Home Run Lifts Rafters in Game 1

The first game of the 2016 Summer Collegiate World Series lived up to the excitement, as the Wisconsin Rapids Rafters beat the Eau Claire Express 5-4 on a walk-off home run hit by Rob Calabrese (Illinois-Chicago) on Thursday night.

After eight innings, the game was tied at three before Eau Claire took the lead on a sacrifice fly from Sam Hurt (Kent State) in the top of the ninth inning to take a one-run advantage.

In the bottom of the ninth, Rafters' Andrew Turner (LIU-Brooklyn) led off the inning with a walk, and he remained at first base with two outs when Calebrese stepped up to the plate for the game-winning home run. Calabrese finished 2-for-4 with three RBI, one run scored and one walk.

Rafters' starting pitcher Gareth Stroh (Coffeyville CC) threw 4 1/3 innings and allowed one run on five hits and three walks with six strikeouts in a no decision.

Eau Claire's Reagan MacDonald (Weatherford) threw 5 1/3 scoreless innings in relief and gave up three hits and zero walks with seven strikeouts in a no decision. Express' centerfielder Alex McKenna (Cal Poly) hit 2-for-5 with a run scored and a RBI.

The Rafters will try to win the 2016 Summer Collegiate World Series on Friday night at 6:35, as they play Eau Claire on the road. If the Rafters win, they are the champions. If Eau Claire wins, Game 3 will decide the championship on Saturday night at 7:05 in Wisconsin Rapids.