Huskies Defeat Eau Claire 9-1 to Retain Top Spot
Five-run 3rd inning was all Duluth needed
Duluth, Minn — The race for the 2nd half Great Plains East division lead is in full effect as coming into today’s game the Huskies stood alone in 1st in front of Eau Claire and La Crosse who are tied for 2nd place at one game back. In yesterday’s game Duluth won in convincing fashion as they roughed up La Crosse to come away with an 11-5 win to split the two-game series and take sole position of the top spot in the division. Eau Claire came to town tonight for a big two game set, as either team could possibly stand in 1st place at the end of the two games.
The southpaw Colt Mink from Flagler made his 9th start for the Express and his first against the Huskies, while Brock Mosier made his season debut for Duluth. Eau Claire came into Thursday’s game with one win in their last four looking to build off of a 7-2 win against the Larks yesterday as Duluth entered having won three of their last four.
The first team to score would be Eau Claire in the 1st inning when with runners on the corners and two outs, Zach Gilles stole 2nd and Brock Burton came home to score on a throwing error to make it 1-0 Express early. But Alex Tappen tied it right back up at 1-1 with a booming RBI double off the top of the wall in left-center that scored Channy Ortiz from 1st base for the 5th run of the inning. That was Tappen’s 4th RBI in his last four at-bats.
After a 2nd inning that saw no runs scored, Max Guzman lined a bases-loaded single into centerfield to score one, and a sac fly from Danny Zimmerman scored another run extending the Huskies’ lead to two runs. Later on three more runs came home on Noah Marcelo’s bases-clearing two-out double to put Duluth up 6-1 after 3 complete innings. “I was actually feeling a bit shaky during the at-bat. Honestly I just kind of rolled one over and got lucky, and it was good baserunning by my teammates.” Austin Smith came into the game as the 4th frame began in his 7th appearance and first out of the bullpen. Brock Mosier gave up one unearned run on two walks and three strikeouts over 3 innings in his debut.
In the bottom of the 5th Zimmerman added a run onto the Huskies’ lead after stealing 3rd with two outs and then coming home to score on a wild throw from Eau Claire’s catcher David LaManna. Another run scored in the 6th in when an errant pickoff throw allowed Joey Zwak to score the Huskies’ 8th run. In the top of the 6th inning Austin Smith exited after throwing 2.2 scoreless innings in relief of Mosier.
The 7th inning and the top of the 8th were relatively quiet until the Huskies scored their 9th run in the bottom of the 8th on an Alex Tappen sac fly that was lifted into left field. Joey Zwak was able to tag up on it and just beat the throw home to score his 3rd run of the night. Jack Corbell came in the next inning and pitched a clean 9th inning to seal the 9-1 Huskies win.
Noah Marcelo returned recently after he was part of the team during their 1st half, which didn’t go so well. He says that one of the biggest differences he’s seen since being back is that there’s more seasoned players on the roster now. “We had a lot of freshman (incoming sophomores) but now we have those upperclassmen like incoming juniors and seniors, so just having that experience I think is driving us.”
The Huskies and the Express face off tomorrow in the 3rd to last home game of the season. First pitch is set for 6:35 pm with live game coverage on 92.1 The Fan and twinportssportshub.com beginning at 6:25 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.