Roach pitches gem but Eau Claire bullpen can’t hold on to 1-run lead
It was smooth sailing for the Eau Claire Express on Thursday night, until the 8th inning started. That’s when the Rochester Honkers exploded for their first four runs of the game on their way to a 6-1 victory at Carson Park.
Dalton Roach took a no-hitter into the 7th inning and finished with 7 innings of 1 hit baseball on 3 walks and 9 strikeouts. Although he was in a groove Roach’s pitch count was above 100 so according to Northwoods League rules he was unable to start another inning.
Teddy Cillis came in for relief of Roach in the 8th inning with the Express up 1-0. After allowing a leadoff double he retired the next two batters before allowing back-to-back-to-back singles which would give the Honkers a 2-1 lead.
With 2 outs in the 8th inning Victor Sanchez came in to try and stop the bleeding but an error by third baseman Kyle Marinconz and another Honkers single allowed 2 more runs to cross the plate before ending the inning with a 4-1 Honkers lead.
A sac fly and an RBI Single would tack on two more runs for the Honkers as they scored 6 runs in the final two innings to spoil a tremendous start from Roach and the Express.
“He did phenomenal.” Said Express Field Manager Dale Varsho of Roach’s performance. “He did really well even when he was behind the count. He did everything he was known for, spots up and makes pitches.”
Roach wishes his team could have gotten the victory but wasn’t bitter about wasting his gem of an outing.
“It stings a little bit but I know it’s not going to be able to be like that every single time you go out and pitch,” said Roach. “I was obviously hoping to get the win but in other situations you’re going to get that.”
The fans were all paying attention to the no-hitter Roach took into the 7th inning but he said he was trying not to.
“I really didn’t think about it that much, I tried to keep it off my mind and just keep working my usual stuff,” said Roach. “I just tried not to look at the hits part of the scoreboard.”
Shortstop Irving Lopez was productive at the plate as the only Express player with more than one hit. He managed two singles and batted in the only run of the game.
With the loss the Express now fall to 9-14 on the season. They continue the rest of a 7-game home stand which started tonight against the Mankato Moondogs who come to town for a 2-game series. Tomorrow’s game is set for 7:05 p.m. and is sponsored by Evergreen Funeral Home. There will be a pre-planned funeral giveaway and stick around for fireworks immediately following the conclusion of the game.