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Derailed ’em

Huskies sweep Express to advance to Great Plains Championship Game

Evan Popalis, @evan_popalis

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. — After defeating the Eau Claire Express a night ago for the first time in 396 days, the Duluth Huskies polished off the sweep with a 4-3 victory Monday night.

Jake Combs got the start for the Huskies, and JJ Pease received the nod for Express.

Duluth got the scoring started in the top of the second inning. Devin Hurdle recorded an RBI groundout to propel the Huskies ahead in the early going.

Jack Painter blasted his second home run of the season in the visiting third, advancing Duluth’s lead to 3-0.

The Huskies added another run in the fourth. Jeremy Keller plated Cam Frederick to extend the Duluth advantage to four runs.

Eau Claire got its first run in the game in the bottom of the fourth. Sam Kuchinski smashed an RBI base hit to score Peter Brookshaw to turn the score to 4-1.

Combs finished the contest with six innings under his belt with one run allowed on four hits. The Southern Illinois product racked up four strikeouts and a walk on the night.

Eau Claire gathered two runs in the home seventh to get the ballgame with a run.

Duluth turned to Jeremy Klick, Isaac Rohde and Mason Burns out of the bullpen in the winning effort. Combs got the victory for the Huskies and Burns got the save after recording the final two outs of the game. Pease was handed the loss as the Eau Claire Express were eliminated and their season came to a close.

Duluth pitching did not allow an extra-base hit in the winning effort, limiting scoring opportunities for Eau Claire.

After going 0-8 versus the Express this season, the Huskies swept Eau Claire to get themselves into the Great Plains Championship Game.

The Duluth Huskies will play the Willmar Stingers in the divisional championship game in a win-or-go home matchup. Duluth and Willmar square off at 7:05 pm CT Tuesday night.

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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.