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Salters blast, defense back Ruckman in 1-0 win

Box Score

With the humidity coming in high at 79 percent by the time first pitch rolled around, it scientifically could have been a big day for hitters.

And after Eau Claire Express power hitter Daniel Salters hit a fly ball that kept carrying over the wall to give the Express an early lead, it seemed that's exactly how the game would go.

But that was all the damage both the Alexandria Blue Anchors and Express offenses would do, as Eau Claire won by that exact score of 1-0 in front of 918 fans at Carson Park.

Jordan Ruckman danced his way out of trouble all night, as he put six guys on either by a hit by pitch or walk to go along with two hits, but he used a double play ball and a caught stealing to his advantage. The Express defense didn't commit an error.

“I put a few too many guys on, but I was able to make pitches, trust my defense,” Ruckman said. 

Ruckman wound up going six innings. Brett Seeburger went the next two and gave up just two hits while Eric Gleese got the save by inducing a game-ending double play ball.

“With the defense like we have, let them hit it," Ruckman said of the Express defense, which ranks fourth in the Northwoods League with a .966 fielding percentage. "Our fielders are great, they’ve been great all year.”

It was Salters' first home run since his walk off bomb against St. Cloud on June 20. He took a 1-0 pitch from Alexandria starter Spencer Koopmans high up in the air and just past the tall Burracho's billboard in right field to give the game its only run.

“I hit it decently, a little more up, but it carried it out,” Salters said.

The Express scattered six hits and hit into three double plays themselves, but their pitching staff made one more pitch than Alexandria to be the difference. The Express have now won two in a row and will look to close out Alexandria at home tomorrow with its second season sweep of the Blue Anchors. The Express have also propelled themselves to right in the mix in the early part of the second half standings.

“We’ve won two games in a row, it’s been a while since we’ve done that," Salters said. "The team’s really starting to mesh together.”

The game was played in one hour and 57 minutes, the quickest nine-inning game of the season for Eau Claire. First pitch tomorrow is set for 6:35 p.m. on Military Appreciation Night at Carson Park.