Evan Popalis, @evan_popalis
Eau Claire notches nine runs early; Huskies comeback falls short
DULUTH, Minn — The Duluth Huskies welcomed the Eau Claire Express into Wade Stadium Monday night to kick off a two-game series. The Express continued their winning ways against Duluth, beating the Huskies, 12-5.
Eau Claire (20-9, 39-24) asserted itself offensively in the opening three innings of the contest. The Express scored three runs in the first frame to get their feet under them. The visiting squad was not finished. Eau Claire polished off a two-run second and four-run third to get ahead by nine runs.
The Huskies (13-16, 32-30) got on the board for the first time in the bottom of the third. Jack Painter launched his first home run of the season for Duluth, sending the score to 9-1.
Two innings later, the Huskies plated two more runs on a Jonathan Vastine double. Vastine’s RBI count clocks in at 18 on the summer season.
In the sixth, Duluth notched two runs to cut the deficit to five runs. An Isaac Fugure RBI single and Jack Painter RBI groundout pushed the score to 10-5.
The Express prevailed for a pair of runs in the eighth to extend the lead to 12-5. That score would stick as the Express downed the Huskies.
Jake Hamilton (3-1) got the start but received the loss for Duluth. He tossed one inning while surrendering three runs on four hits. Eau Claire starter Ethan Louthan (3-1) earned the win and went five innings, allowing three runs on six hits. Louthan gathered three walks and three punchouts along the way.
Eau Claire moves to 7-0 against Duluth this season. The Express have outscored the Huskies 57-23 during the head-to-head series.
The Huskies and Express meet for the final time of the regular season Tuesday night. The first pitch is scheduled for 6:35 pm CT.
The Duluth Huskies are a member of the finest developmental league for elite college baseball players, the Northwoods League. The Northwoods League is the proven leader in the development of elite college baseball players. Having completed its’ 28th 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, over 280 Northwoods League players have advanced to Major League Baseball, including three-time All-Star and 2016 Roberto Clemente Award winner Curtis Granderson, three-time Cy Young Award winner and World Series Champion Max Scherzer (NYM), two-time World Series Champions Ben Zobrist and Brandon Crawford (SFG) and World Series Champion Chris Sale (BOS). As well as 2019 Rookie of the Year and 2019/2021 Home Run Derby Champion Pete Alonso (NYM) and 2021 All-Star, MLB Gold Glove winner and 2019 Second Team All-MLB shortstop Marcus Semien (TEX). All league games are viewable live via the Northwoods League website. League games are viewable live at watchnwl.com. 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.