Eau Claire earns walk-off win in game one, but only manage one hit in game two
Box Scores – Game 1 – Game 2 – Virtual Game Day Program
After yesterday’s game was postponed due to rain, the Eau Claire Express made it up by playing two 7 inning games against the Thunder Bay Border Cats on Saturday night. They won the first game 5-4 in dramatic fashion but could not carry the momentum over to game two, where they fell 5-1.
In game one with the score tied in the bottom of the 6th inning the Express loaded the bases for Catcher Daulton Varsho. Varsho hit a grounder to short which scored a run off a fielder’s choice to give Eau Claire the lead 4-3.
Then in the top of the 7th inning Express closer Victor Sanchez was one strike away from sealing the victory when the Border Cats would get an RBI fielder’s choice of their own to tie the game 4-4.
But after two straight walks in the bottom of the 7th, Eau Claire second baseman Kyle Marinconz ripped an RBI single to score Teddy Cillis and give the Express the walk off victory.
“I knew he was going to throw a first pitch and challenge me. I saw it in and was able to sneak it through the hole for a hit,” said Marinconz. “I was really excited, glad I could come through for the team.”
Marinconz finished with the best overall day going 3 for 4 with 2 runs and the game-winning RBI. Third baseman Sam Mrstik was also 2 for 2 in the game one as the Express totaled 7 hits. Field Manager Dale Varsho was happy with the win but thought there could have been some room for improvement.
“I think we should have won it in the top of the seventh,” said Varsho. “It’s always nice to have a walk off, but we probably shouldn’t have even got there.”
Griffin Jax started game one on the mound and threw six innings giving up 3 runs on 6 hits while striking out 4.
“He threw too many pitches at certain times but Griffin is really good,” said Varsho. “He’ll compete at the highest level and he keeps us in the ball game.”
Game two was a completely different story as the Express gave up runs in the first three innings and only plated one run.
Sam Hurt started at second base in game two and had Eau Claire’s lone hit. He was at the plate when a wild pitch scored Tanner DeVinny for the only Express run in the 2nd inning to make it 2-1. After that the Border Cats pitching staff shut down the Express bats.
Greg Wiessert started for Thunder Bay and pitched remarkably, striking out 7 batters in 6 innings giving up just the one run and one hit. Varsho had nothing but praise for the opposing pitcher.
“They did everything right. Competed, threw strikes, kept everything off balance,” said Varsho. “Probably the best pitching I’ve seen all year.”
Thunder Bay put the game out of reach in the 5th inning with back-to-back solo home runs to make the score 5-1.
The Express have two more home games this weekend when the Alexandria Blue Anchors come to town for a two-game series at Carson Park. Tomorrow’s game is sponsored by Wagner’s Lanes where all fans in attendance will receive a free game of bowling. First pitch is set for 6:35 p.m.