Express offense explodes to answer every question
Game one of Monday's doubleheader left some confusion.
In game two, the Eau Claire Express left no doubt, using an eight-run seventh inning to pull out a 12-4 victory against the host Wisconsin Rapids Rafters in a the second game of a home and home doubleheader. The two teams were suspended in the eighth inning of game one earlier in the afternoon at Carson Park.
The Express scored two early runs, one in the third and one in the fourth, as Mike Barajas scored on a Brady Burzynski sacrifice fly while Drew Turbin scored on a bases-loaded walk when Peter Van Gansen was in the batter's box.
But the Rafters took advantage of two errors in the bottom of the fifth and scored four times to take a 4-2 lead. That's when the offense woke up.
Brent Gibbs chipped away in the top of the sixth as he mashed his second home run in the three days, this one a solo shot, over the left-field fence. He would have another opportunity to make an impact on the game, and he did just that.
In the top of the seventh, Brian Mundell started the scoring off by lacing a two-run single down the line to score Burzynski and Van Gansen.
Two batters later, Gibbs stepped in with the bases loaded. On the first pitch, the Indiana catcher nearly hit a grand slam as he lined one to the base of the wall to score Tyler Hermann and Mundell. His teammates kept things going.
Barajas had an RBI groundout, and Van Gansen laced a line drive off the left fielder's glove a batter later to score Gibbs and Jack Zoellner.
Finally, Van Gansen scored on a Burzynski single up the middle. The orange and black dented the scoreboard with an eight spot in the inning.
They chipped in one more in the ninth when Burzynski doubled home Barajas.
Burzynski and Gibbs both had three RBI while everybody but one in the lineup scored at least one run.
In his first appearance of the summer, Peter Hendron earned the win for the Express. He came in facing a deficit, and on his first pitch, he got a double play ball and kept things going from there. He wound up going three innings and giving up just one hit with no runs.
Ian Doughty went five plus innings for the Express and gave up three earned runs on five hits while striking out two. Eric Gleese pitched a scoreless ninth for the Eau Claire.
The Express get their first scheduled day off Tuesday since the season started on May 28. They will be back at it Wednesday for a two-game series in Waterloo.