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Express offense struggles again with left-handed pitching in loss

Box Score

After left-handed pitcher Josh Taylor silenced the Eau Claire Express the night before, the St. Cloud Rox sent out another southpaw to counter the left-handed dominated Express lineup.

It was almost deja vu. Lefties Tim Faix and Dalton Sawyer combined to go 7.2 innings while giving up four runs, which were all late in the contest, and 10 strikeouts. The Rox finished off the sweep of the Express by winning 5-4 on Fireworks Friday at Carson Park.

"St. Cloud came in stacked, knowing we’re lefty oriented. They had lefties galore that were really good pitchers," Field Manager Dale Varsho said. "There’s just not much to say, we just have to figure out how to put the ball in play better.”

After falling down 3-0 early on, the orange and black chipped away in the bottom of the sixth inning and broke a 16-inning scoreless drought when Daniel Salters scored on a Jeff Hendrix groundout.

The Rox got two more, but the Express rallied in the bottom of the eighth. With one out and the bases juiced, Hendrix pulled a single in between second and first base to score Tyler Hermann and Brian Mundell. Drew Turbin, who wound up collecting two hits on the night along with two stolen bases, scored on a wild pitch to make it a one run game.

But then the first right hander Eau Claire saw all series, Jeff Lumsden, slammed the door with three strikeouts in a four-out save.

The Express got another quality start from Peter Hendron, who went six innings, gave up three runs and struck out three while only walking one.

“Overall he did great," Varsho said. "He filled up the zone.”

Orlando Meza and Aron McRee both gave up one run in a combined three innings of relief.

The Express start a new series tomorrow against the Rochester Honkers. Ian Doughty, who is fresh off one of his better outings of the year at Willmar last Saturday, will take the bump for an Eau Claire team looking to get back on track.

“Hopefully Ian throws exactly like he did in Willmar," Varsho said. "He really competed well, so if we get that again, we should be in the baseball game.”

First pitch is set for 6:35 p.m. on Superhero Night at Carson Park. All fans in costume will get candy from the game sponsor, Nestle.