Eau Claire, Wis.—The La Crosse Loggers emerged victorious in the first game between the Loggers and Express since 2013 by a final score of 8-1. Despite having a runner reach base in every inning, the Express only managed to bring one run home in a strong pitching performance from Loggers’ starter Nelson Martz.
The game was a pitching duel early, with zeroes on the scoreboard for each team through three innings.
Brody Rodning looked to avenge his tough outing against the Rochester Honkers on June 1st, where he was pulled after just 2.1 innings. Rodning had an excellent start to the game, allowing just two hits in his first three innings. Both hits (a single and a triple) were to Mason McCoy, who was the Northwoods League MVP last season. McCoy set a league record for hits in his impressive 2015 campaign, and was a defensive standout at shortstop.
The Loggers offense rallied in the bottom of the fourth, scoring five runs after six consecutive batters reached base. Kevin Collard had a two-run double, and later scored on another two-run double off the bat of Loggers’ catcher, Luis Trevino. McCoy tallied an RBI on a ground out to third baseman, Ripken Reyes, that scored Lorenzo Hampton Jr who reached base on a walk.
The Express threatened in the top of the sixth when lead off hitter Tommy Hook reached first with a one-out walk. Hook made it to third on a Mickey McDonald single to right field, but was called out at the plate on a double steal to end the inning with Eau Claire trailing 5-0.
Collard would strike again in the bottom of the seventh, hitting a three-run home run off of reliever Hayden Bowe that barely snuck over the fence in right field. The home run gave Collard his fourth RBI to extend the Loggers’ lead to 8-0. Bowe pitched three innings, striking out three batters and giving up three earned runs in his second outing of the season.
Zach Ashford would score the first and only run of the night for the Express in the top of the eighth. The Fresno State outfielder hit a single back up the middle to reliever Mark Nowaczewski and advanced to second on a throwing error. Two passed balls would bring Ashford home to end the scoring drought.
The Express looked poised to rally in the bottom of the ninth, loading the bases with just one out. Nowaczewski pitched out of the jam, however, forcing a pop up and a ground out to end the game.
McDonald led the Express offense, going 3-4 with three singles. In his third appearance of the season, Dylan Smith pitched the bottom of the eighth, notching one strike out without allowing a hit to give the Express a chance in the final inning.
Collard was the difference maker for the Loggers, finishing 2-4 with two runs and four RBI’s. In his 2016 debut, McCoy went 3-5 with one RBI, and Trevino added two RBI’s on a 3-4 night at the plate. Loggers’ starter Martz pitched 6.2 shut out innings, earning his first victory in two starts this summer.
The Express will return to Carson Park to take on the Loggers at 6:35pm tomorrow. Austin Schulfer is the probable starter for Tuesday night’s contest. Schulfer is looking to earn his second win of the season after pitching 5.2 innings of relief in the comeback victory against the Rochester Honkers last week. He struck out an impressive 10 batters in his debut this season.
Season tickets, 5-Game Packs, and single-game tickets are on sale now for Express home games. The all-new 5-Game Pack includes a reserved ticket along with food and beverage for three innings for five of the biggest promotional nights of the 2016 season all for only $45.00. All tickets can be purchased by calling the Express office at 715-839-7788 or by stopping at the downtown office at 102 E. Grand Ave.
The Eau Claire Express are a member of the finest developmental league for elite college baseball players, the Northwoods League. Playing its 23rd season of summer collegiate baseball in 2016, the Northwoods League is the largest organized baseball league in the world with 18 teams, drawing significantly more fans, in a friendly ballpark experience, than any league of its kind. A valuable training ground for coaches, umpires and front office staff, more than 150 Northwoods League players have advanced to Major League Baseball, including Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer (WAS) and MLB All-Stars Chris Sale (CWS), Jordan Zimmermann (DET), Curtis Granderson (NYM), Lucas Duda (NYM) and Ben Zobrist (CHC). All league games are viewable live via the Northwoods League Website. For more information, visit www.eauclaireexpress.com.