Express can’t find gaps in loss
The Eau Claire Express put the bat on the ball Friday night.
Unfortunately for the 3,070 fans packed into Carson Park, those balls found the gloves of the Willmar Stingers more often than not as the Stingers took a 5-3 victory and two-game sweep of Eau Claire.
Express starter Jordan Ruckman was brilliant on the mound, going six innings while allowing just three hits while striking out five.
However, it was one big hit that gave him three runs to his name, as Willmar first baseman Nick Rivera belted the first home run hit at Carson Park this season over the left-center field fence in the top of the third.
But the Express came back, plating three runs of their own in the bottom of the sixth to tie the score.
Mike Porcaro picked up his eighth RBI of the season by knocking in Brady Burzynski, and with the bases loaded, newcomer Daniel Salters hit a ground rule double scoring Porcaro and Drew Turbin.
Salters, who was drafted in the 22nd round last weekend by the Washington Nationals, drew a thunderous cheer from the crowd after he missed a home run by just about 15 feet.
But as any good, first-place team does, the Stingers responded right back by scoring two in the top of the seventh, a lead and score that wouldn't change.
Conner Rusch took the loss for Eau Claire. Brett Seeburger pitched a scoreless eighth and ninth in his Eau Claire debut. He also picked up four strikeouts in the contest.
At the plate, the Express only struck out six times as a team. Tyler Hermann led the charge by going 3-for-4 with a double.
Eau Claire now travels to Willmar for a two-game road series against the Stingers. First pitch tomorrow night is set for 6:05 p.m. at Taunton Stadium.