MoonDogs defeat Express 7-3 after rain delay
Eau Claire, Wis.— After jumping out to a 2-0 lead in the top of the first, the MoonDogs scored five unanswered runs and would hold the lead for the rest of the game, winning by a 7-3 final score. The Express dropped to 6-5 on the season in a game that was delayed 30-minutes due to persistent rainfall.
The Express hitters picked up where they left off in last night’s 9-3 victory early Friday night, with lead off singles from the bats of Ben Mezzenga and Zach Ashford. Daulton Varsho slapped a double to the fence in left center, scoring Mezzenga from second. Ashford would score the second run of the inning on a wild pitch from MoonDogs’ starter, Jon Matheson.
The MoonDogs, the best hitting team in the young Northwood’s League season, replied with a two-run inning of their own, highlighted by an RBI triple hit to right center by Marcus Pingleton.
Chase Hamilton scored the go-ahead run for the MoonDogs in the bottom of the fourth after advancing to third on a Bryce Adams double down the third base line. Hamilton raced to home on an infield single by Ridge Smith. The MoonDogs would extend their lead to 5-2, with two sacrifice outs. Alvaro Rubalcaba and Drew Fearing were credited with the RBI’s. The fourth would be Boushley’s final inning of work, ending the game with four earned runs on five hits.
Mezzenga scored his second run of the night after hitting the first triple of the season for the Express. He crossed home after a Matheson wild pitch in the top of the fifth, his fourth run in just two games, to cut the lead to two runs.
Hayden Bowe would pitch two scoreless innings in relief, but the MoonDogs tagged the Eau Claire Memorial graduate for one run. Jake Shepski, the leading hitter in the Northwoods League, hit a double and later scored on an RBI single by Pingleton to increase the Mankato lead to 6-3.
Tyler Jones attempted to mount a rally in the seventh with a lead off double, but the Express were unable to capitalize with a runner in scoring position. Adams would punish the Express, hitting a deep solo homerun to left-center field to extend the MoonDogs lead to four runs.
Brick Paskiewicz did not allow a run to earn the save in the ninth inning. Matheson got the win and Boushley dropped to 1-1 with the loss against the hot-hitting MoonDogs. Mezzenga was the top hitter for Eau Claire, scoring two runs on two hits, including a triple.
The Express will stay in Mankato for a rematch tomorrow night at 6:05 at the Frank (Franklin Rodgers Park). Rodning is set to start for the Express, looking to contain the dangerous MoonDogs and string together victories on a weeklong road trip.
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.