Duluth drops back to .500 in the 2nd half
Duluth, Minn — The Duluth Huskies currently went into Saturday night’s game with a 2-1 record after the first 3 games of the 2nd half. After shutting out the Willmar Stingers in back to back games, the team lost on Friday night to Eau Claire in game one of a three-game series by a score of 10-7. After being down 7-0 and having no hits until the 6th inning, the offense picked up and tied it up at 7 in the late innings, but the Express rallied to score 3 and ultimately snatch the win. In Saturday’s matchup, Mason Bryant took the mound for Duluth in his 9th appearance and faced Nick Alvarado from Eau Claire.
The Express found a way to load the bases with two outs for the one-hole hitter Cole Cabrera after back to back singles from Vincent Martinez and Brandon Dieter and a full count walk to Brock Burton. Cabrera would draw a walk of his own to bring home Martinez to score the first run of the night in the top half of the 2nd.
Matt Hogan was the first Husky in scoring position after he led off the 3rd with a single and a stolen base. Wade Meckler would single up the middle to put runners on the corners for Nic Kent who scored Hogan with a sac fly to right field to tie the ballgame up 1-1 as it entered the 4th inning.
Vincent Martinez and Brandon Dieter would lead off the 4th inning with a single and a walk. After inducing a flyout and striking out Brock Burton to get 2 quick outs, Bryant would walk Cole Cabrera for the 2nd time, leading to his exit from the game. Bryant allowed two runs on 4 hits, walked four, and struck out 3 as Schuyler Hill would take the mound in his Huskies debut. He would immediately walk in Martinez from 3rd to give Eau Claire a 2-1 lead.
Duluth would get their 2nd runner into scoring position after Wade Meckler drew a 2-out walk and advanced to 2nd on a passed ball. Nic Kent would come to the plate with a chance to tie the game but Alvarado would strike him out to keep their one-run lead.
Troy Beilsmith and Spencer Myers would both be walked with one out in the top of the 7th and would advance to 2nd and 3rd on a ground out from Vincent Martinez. The next batter Brandon Dieter got his 2nd hit of the game on a 2 RBI double to the wall in left-center that gave the Express some breathing room. Xavier Bussey grabbed the 3rd out of the inning with an incredible diving catch on a pop up to shallow left field.
Jack Brown relieved Eau Claire’s starter Nick Alvarado in the bottom of the 7th inning and held the Huskies scoreless for the 4th straight inning. Alvarado allowed one run on 5 hits, walked 2 and struck out 5 over 6 innings of work.
Brock Burton got his first hit of the evening to start the 8th inning when he tripled to the right-center wall, giving the Express another chance to extend their 3 run lead. Cole Cabrera walked for his 4th time which led to Zach Gilles and Matt Bottcher knocking in 2 more runs on back to back RBI singles to make it a 6-1 game and forcing Hill to leave the game. After Dan Hansen entered the game, Troy Beilsmith would get his 1st hit and home Gilles, and Matt Bottcher scored on an error to make it 8-1. After a 6-4-3 double play, Brandon Dieter continued his stellar night at the plate with an RBI double down the left field line for Eau Claire’s 5th run of the inning and his 3rd hit of the night.
The Huskies would load the bases with two outs in the bottom of the 8th but failed to bring in anybody. With the score being 9-1 in the Express’ advantage, Marcus Pointer chose to bring in infielder Lance Ford to pitch the top half of the 9th. Before this game, Ford previously made two appearances on the bump and had allowed just one hit over 3 innings of work. He would throw another scoreless inning, but Cole Cabrera walked again in the inning to bring his walk total to 5; a Northwoods League single-game record. Cabrera also walked 4 times against Duluth earlier in the season.
Tim Ewald would come in to pitch the 9th for Eau Claire and allowed no runs to secure the 9-1 win and a series win for the Express.
The Huskies will try and take the final game of the series tomorrow night. First pitch is set for 3:05 pm with live game coverage on 92.1 The Fan and twinportssportshub.com beginning at 2:55 pm. All Duluth Huskies and Northwoods League games are live streamed online at portal.stretchlive.com/nwl to watch.
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The Duluth Huskies are a member of the finest developmental league for elite college baseball players, the Northwoods League. Now in its 26th anniversary season, the Northwoods League is the largest organized baseball league in the world with 22 teams, drawing significantly more fans, in a friendly ballpark experience, than any league of its kind. A valuable training ground for coaches, umpires and front office staff, more than 200 former Northwoods League players have advanced to Major League Baseball, including three-time Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer (WAS), two-time World Series Champions Ben Zobrist (CHC) and Brandon Crawford (SFG) and MLB All-Stars Chris Sale (BOS), Jordan Zimmermann (DET) and Curtis Granderson (TOR). All league games are viewable live via the Northwoods League portal. For more information, visit www.duluthhuskies.com or download the new Northwoods League Mobile App on the Apple App Store or on Google Play and set the Huskies as your favorite team.