It's been a theme lately for the Eau Claire Express to score in the ninth inning. Sunday against the host Thunder Bay Border Cats, it was the same song with a different verse.
In a 5-5 game heading into the final frame, the Express exploded for five runs, capped off by a huge three-run homer from Tyler Hermann, to lead to a 10-5 win at Subway Field.
The scoring in the ninth got started when Jeff Hendrix, in his second game in an Express uniform, singled to score Peter Van Gansen. Brady Burzynski scored on a wild pitch, and then with two guys on base, Hermann stepped up to the plate.
With one swing, the UW-Milwaukee utility man not only broke the game wide open, but also moved into second place in the all-time records for most hits in a game with five. He would finish 5-for-6 on the night with four RBI.
The Express scored four in the top of the second. Mike Barajas had a sacrifice fly, Van Gansen had an RBI single, Jack Zoellner scored on a bases loaded walk and Mike Porcaro had an RBI single to give Eau Claire a 4-1 lead.
The Border Cats came back, scoring three times in the bottom of the fifth to take a 5-4 lead. The Express tied it up a half inning later when Hermann knocked in Hendrix an RBI single.
Taylor Duree was sensational in relief for Eau Claire, going four innings without allowing a run. He gave up just one hit and struck out six to earn the win.
The Express and Border Cats square off again tomorrow north of the border. Cory Taylor will take the ball for Eau Claire. First pitch is set for 6:05 p.m. CT. Pete Knutson will have the call on Mix 98.1.