If you like high scoring games, then tonight was your type of ballgame at Wade Stadium in Duluth. The Express trailed most of the ballgame before scoring two in the ninth inning to push the game into extra innings for the second night in a row. The result was much more favorable than last night in Waterloo, as Eau Claire exploded for seven runs in the 11th inning and hung on to win 16-12 in a game that lasted four hours and 27 minutes.
The Express started the scoring in the second inning as Tyler Jones knocked in Lane Milligan with an RBI single. The lead was short-lived as the Huskies tied the game in the bottom half on a single by left-fielder Grady Caldwell. Duluth would go on to score in each of the next three innings, eight runs in all. Eau Claire would plate six runs in the fifth inning and would trail 9-7 heading into the ninth.
The comeback was on in the ninth as Tyler Hermann, Lane Milligan and Tyler Jones would all single to begin the inning. The single by Jones scored Hermann and cut the lead to one. Lane Milligan then scored on a wild pitch to tie the game and set the stage for an incredible 11th inning that saw ten combined runs scored by both teams.
The 11th inning saw the Express send 12 men to the plate and score seven runs to take a commanding 16-9 lead. Oddly enough, all seven Express runs were scored with two outs. Brady Burzynski started off the scoring with an RBI bunt single and a second run scored on an error by third baseman Nolan Johnson. After a Mike Porcaro walk to load the bases, Drew Turbin took a free pass to score the third run of the inning. Tyler Hermann followed with a two-run double, Lane Milligan walked and Tyler Jones knocked in two more runs with a single.
Duluth made things interesting in the bottom of the frame, drawing two walks to start the inning. Catcher Michael Tinsley followed with a three-run home run, his second of the game, to cut the lead to 16-12. Eric Gleese was able to retire the next two batters to wrap up Eau Claire’s ninth win on the season.
The unsung hero for the Express tonight was pitcher Taylor Duree, who pitched five scoreless innings out of the bullpen without giving a run. He worked around six walks, but struck out nine to keep Eau Claire in the ballgame. Duree was credited with the win, his first of the season, in his third appearance on the mound.
The Express conclude their two-game set in Duluth tomorrow night, with first pitch scheduled for 6:35 PM at Wade Stadium. Eau Claire returns home on Thursday and Friday this week to take on the Willmar Stingers. Thursday’s game begins at 6:35 PM and is Express T-shirt Giveaway Night, sponsored by the Career Development Center. Friday night’s contest is scheduled for 7:05 PM and is the first fireworks night at Carson Park for 2014. The game is also Cancer Awareness Night and Dale Varsho Mini Bobblehead Night. All of Friday’s events are sponsored by Marshfield Clinic.