Train keeps rolling
Marinconz’s walk-off single gives Express fourth straight victory
Coming off a six game road trip and returning home to play a day-night double header is one thing, but winning both games in thrilling fashion is another. The Eau Claire Express capped off the night with a 6-5 walk-off victory over the Wisconsin Rapids Rafters in game two at Carson Park tonight.
The score was deadlocked at 1-1 for most of the night until the eighth inning when the Rafters put up four runs to take the lead. But the Express scored three runs in the eighth to close the gap and set up the game winning scenario.
Joe Gillette (Oregon State) started the rally with a one out walk in the ninth. Sam Hurt (Madison College) followed him with a single but an error by the Rafters centerfielder would advance both runners into scoring position.
One batter later Kyle Marinconz (Cal Poly) would continue his breakout season and rip a single to right field to clear the bases and give the Express their third walk-off of the season.
“I’ve been squaring balls up but they haven’t been falling lately,” said Marinconz. “I just went up and said I’m going to take a little bit off, just line one up and it worked out.”
Marinconz finished with two hits, two RBI and two runs scored on the night. Express Field Manager Dale Varsho said he can’t imagine anyone else he would have rather be up in that situation.
“He’s a free swinging high school kid,” said Varsho. “I don’t know if he’s got a whole lot of knowledge of what goes on but he can flat out hit.”
Bryce Hensley (Catawba Valley Community College) got the start for the Express in game two and pitched well going 7.2 innings strong allowing three runs on five hits but only two of them earned. Victor Sanchez (New Mexico) pitched a scoreless ninth inning to earn his third win of the season.
Brady Burzynski (UW-Stout) added two hits along with Hurt who scored the winning run. Tyler Adkison (San Diego State) plated a run on his two run double in the first inning which gave Eau Claire the early lead. Varsho said his team is having more fun which is the key to their recent success.
“They’re battling better, putting the ball in play more, not striking out in bad opportunities,“ said Varsho. “I wish we would have started earlier in the year like this. “
The Express go on the road for one game to take on the Rochester Honkers tomorrow night before coming right back to play them at Carson Park on Friday.
“Getting in after four in the morning and pulling off this double header win today is pretty good,” said Varsho. “They’re having fun at the ball park.”
Tomorrow’s game is set for a 7:05 p.m. first pitch. All 72 Express games can be heard live at 92.1 radio or online.