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Express rally to earn split

Express down MoonDogs in eighth inning to end three-game skid

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A five run sixth inning and two runs in their final at-bat proved to be they key for the Eau Claire Express on Saturday night at Carson Park as they earned a victory over the Mankato MoonDogs 7-5 to earn a split and snap a 3-game losing streak.

Down 2-0 entering the bottom of the sixth inning the Express had failed to do much at that point but with two runners on and only one out, third baseman Kyle Marinconz ripped a 2 RBI single to tie the game 2-2. Two batters later centerfielder Brady Burzynkski ripped an RBI single to left field and gave the Express a 3-2 lead.

The Express would bring 11 men to the plate in that sixth inning and tack on two more runs. However it wouldn’t take long for the MoonDogs to respond. They would add one run in the seventh and two in the eighth to tie the game at 5-5.

Despite giving up their lead the Express answered in the bottom of the eighth. With two men on base and Daulton Varsho at the plate, second baseman Sam Hurt would score the eventual winning run off a wild pitch from Mankato hurler Ricky Ramirez. Varsho would seal the deal two pitches later with an RBI double to left to make it 7-5.

Victor Sanchez would lock down the ninth inning and give the Express the victory and series split.

“Mike Porcaro our third base coach came in this week and told us ‘you guys don’t have any energy in here you guys just die after the seventh inning,’” said Varsho. “I think that sparked us a lot to get the guys to keep up the energy knowing that we can still get in this game.”

Express Field Manager Dale Varsho said he was impressed with his team tonight, especially after the five run sixth inning.

“That was nice,” said Varsho. “We batted through the order for the first time all year I think.”

Brody Rodning got the start for the Express and was in line for the win until the eighth inning when the MoonDogs tied it up. He finished with 6 innings pitched on 7 hits and 2 earned runs while striking out 3. It didn’t live up to his last outing but Varsho wasn’t complaining.

“Brody had a pretty good start,” said Varsho. “Not one of his best but a pretty good start to keep us in the ball game.”

Since the Express were able to score runs and not play from behind tonight, Varsho said it gives his offense more options to work with.

 “We can talk about strategies, we can talk about signs,” said Varsho. “We can do more things rather than worry about the defensive side of it.”

The Express put up 7 hits and drew 10 walks on their way to earning their tenth win to improve to 10-15 on the season. They stay at home for four more games including an upcoming series with the St. Cloud Rox starting tomorrow.

“That was a big momentum builder for us, to be able to come back twice in a game that’s pretty hard,” said Daulton Varsho. “It goes back and forth here in the Northwoods league. You can get walks, hits, anything can change really. This is good that we got the win tonight.”

Tomorrow’s game at Carson Park is a Father’s Day special and features a Dueling Duo Piano Show which will start before and continue during the game. First pitch is set for 5:05 p.m. Listen to all 72 home and away Express games on Mix 98.1 radio and online.