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Kokora Falters in Debut, Bats Go Cold in Game Two Loss

Game two didn’t go the Huskies’ way from the start. Ryan Kokora (0-1) faltered in his Duluth debut as La Crosse jumped out to a 5-0 lead by the middle of the third, the barrage highlighted by a two-run single by Dashon Moore to score Kennie Taylor and Ryan Mantle in the second, and a sequence in the third that involved a lead-off homer by David Villar, a Jeremy Ydens triple immediately after, and a Jake Hirabayashi single to drive in Ydens.

The Huskies answered back with three of their own, starting with a leadoff double in the fourth by Jordan Hovey. Hovey took third on an Andrew Robinson groundout and made the trip home when Chase Strumpf grounded out to Hirabayashi with the Loggers infield playing regular depth. In the fifth the bats stayed hot as Luke Roskam led off with a single and Rob Emery hit a double to score him three pitches later. Emery scored on an Augie Isaacson groundout. Other than these two innings, Loggers game two starter Peter Hamot (2-1) was spotless, turning in a quality start with two strikeouts, five hits and no walks.

Kokora finally settled in and retired seven straight Loggers before being pulled for Victor Santana to start off the sixth. From there La Crosse picked up right where they left off in the third. Ryan Mantle led things off with a triple and scored on Kennie Taylor’s single. Santana recorded two outs but gave up a single to Luke Rasmussen. Taylor scored to make it 7-3 Loggers.

In the seventh, the Loggers added two more insurance runs off Santana compliments of a wild pitch and a sacrifice fly, assisted by catcher Rob Emery dropping a routine pop-up. Both runs were unearned.

The bottom of the seventh was more exciting than Loggers reliever Charlie Fletcher every hoped it would be, with the Huskies loading the bases with two outs and action brewing in the Loggers bullpen should the unthinkable happen. Fortunately for Fletcher, despite throwing 34 pitches and walking three Huskies, he struck out the side, his submarine delivery proved too much for Andrew Robinson, who struck out to end the ballgame.

The Loggers and Huskies will meet for the final time this year on Tuesday. Starters have not been announced, and first pitch is scheduled for 6:35 p.m.