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Published On: June 14th, 2016

Box Score


Eau Claire, Wis.— The Express completed a two-game sweep of the 0-14 Thunder Bay Border Cats with a 6-2 victory on Monday night. A two RBI single by Ripken Reyes gave Eau Claire a lead in the eighth inning, and would be the game-winning hit in the matchup dominated by starting pitching through seven innings. The Express now hold an 8-6 record, the third best record in the North Division.


Rudy Rott put a run on the board in the first inning, giving Eau Claire an early 1-0 lead against Thunder Bay starting pitcher, Gunnar Kay. Sam Hurt hit a single, and scored from second base on a sharp Rott single that dropped just in front of the Thunder Bay center fielder. Defensively, Rott made his debut behind the plate as the catcher for Eau Claire, after appearing only as a first baseman this summer.


In his second start of the season, Jake Sommers began his outing by retiring the Border Cats in order on 10 pitches in the first inning. Sommers would pitch two scoreless innings, but Thunder Bay was able to tag the right-hander for one run in the third to level the score. Riley Bernsdorf reached base on a lead off walk, and rounded the bases on an RBI double off the bat of Shane Shepard, tying the game at 1-1.


After the third inning, the game evolved into a pitching duel between Sommers and Kay. The two starting pitchers held the opposing batters scoreless through the sixth inning. Sommers allowed just one hit in three innings, and Kay got out of several tough jams to prevent the Express from retaking the lead.


Seth Gill relieved Kay on the rubber in the top of the seventh, after Ben Mezzenga reached second on a lead off single and a stolen base. However, the Express were unable to capitalize with a runner in scoring position.


Emmanuel Castellano made his third appearance in relief for Eau Claire, replacing Sommers in the bottom of the seventh. With two outs, Thunder Bay mounted a rally to take the 2-1 lead. Bernsdorf reached on a walk, then made it to third after a single by Bobby Honeyman. Bernsdorf would score the go-ahead run for the Border Cats when Andy Weber laid down a perfectly placed bunt that pulled Michael Hicks off first base, allowing Weber to reach on an infield single.


The Express responded quickly, recapturing the lead in the top of the eighth. Eau Claire loaded the bases after a pair of walks and a dropped third strike that allowed Cody Bohanek to reach despite the strikeout. Ripken Reyes delivered a clutch hit, a two RBI single, to give the Express a 3-2 lead.


The team would tally three more runs in the inning, including a sacrifice fly and an RBI single from Daulton Varsho. Thunder Bay reliever Marcus Failing struggled with his control, reloading the bases with two walks, then walked home a run giving Rott his second RBI of the game.  The big inning gave the Express a 6-2 lead heading into the bottom of the eighth.


Castellano slammed the door, pitching two scoreless innings to maintain the 6-2 lead and seal the victory. He was the winning pitcher in the game, improving his record to 1-0 in his second season pitching for the Express.


Rott finished 1-3 with two walks and two RBI’s. Varsho had a great night at the plate, going 3-4 with an RBI. Reyes had what would eventually be the game winning hit in the eighth with a two RBI single, one of two hits he had in the game.


The Express will travel to Duluth to take on the Huskies at Wade Stadium in a two game series on Tuesday and Wednesday, hoping to carry the momentum from their Canadian trip. Both games are scheduled to commence at 6:35p.m. Ryan Hamilton is scheduled to take the mound for Eau Claire seeking his first win of the season after suffering an 0-2 start to the summer, despite a quality performance in his second appearance.


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