Eau Claire, Wis.— The Express extended their winning streak to six games after a 9-1 victory against the Green Bay Bullfrogs on Friday night. Caleb Boushley was dominant on the mound, throwing seven scoreless innings while striking out 11 Bullfrogs’ batters in his second win of the season. Jared Mang, a defensive substitute late in the game, blasted a three-run home run in his second game in Eau Claire.
Boushley kicked off a strong night on the mound with a three-pitch strikeout to lead off batter, Laren Eustace. Boushley would strike out all three Bullfrogs he faced in the first, throwing just two balls in the inning.
Dakota Klein, the left-handed starter for the Bullfrogs, struggled early in the game, allowing the Express to load the bases with one out in the top of the first. A walk, a hit batter, and a single by Daulton Varsho put Klein in an early jam. In his third game for the Express, Austin Guzzo drove in the first run for Eau Claire on an infield single. Klein got two big strikeouts to limit the damage to just one run in the inning.
The consecutive strike out streak ended at four for Boushley, who allowed the first hit of the game to Parker Coss after fanning first baseman Colton Onstott. The base runner did not affect Boushley’s ability to bombard the strike zone, as he struck out the next two batters for a total of six K’s in two innings. Designated hitter Chris Botsoe led off the third inning with a triple down the first base line, but Boushley slammed the door with a strike out and two pop-ups to continue the shut out.
The Express added a second run the bottom of the third to extend their lead to 2-0. Tyler Jones advanced to first on a throwing error following a strikeout, and made it to third on a double by Mickey McDonald. Guzzo tallied his second RBI of the game with a sacrifice fly to left field, scoring Jones.
Connor Jackson relieved Klein for Green Bay in the bottom of the fourth, inheriting a bases loaded situation after three Klein walks. Jackson walked Varsho on four pitches to extend the Express lead to three runs, but turned a double play to get out of the inning.
Jackson struggled with his control after a lead off strikeout in the fifth, loading the bases after two hit batters and a walk. Matt Gunter would takeover on the mound, and walk Cal Klipstein-Smith, scoring Guzzo from third. Zach Ashford hit a grounder up the middle, resulting in a fielder’s choice and an error that scored two runs, giving the Express a 6-0 lead after five innings.
Jameson Lavery, Boushley’s teammate at UW-La Crosse, relieved Boushley on the mound in the eighth. Boushley finished with a seven-inning shut out, while fanning 11 Green Bay hitters. He earned the win in the game, improving to 2-1 on the season in a gem on the hill for Eau Claire.
Jared Mang, who entered the game as a defensive substitute, gave the Express three insurance runs in the bottom of the eighth. Mang pounced on the second ball he saw, blasting a three-run home run to deep right field. Mang’s exceptional power, which he showed this season at New Mexico, was on full display in just his second game in Eau Claire.
Lavery retired the Bullfrogs in order with one strikeout in the eighth, but allowed one run in the ninth after Marcus Shoemaker reached on an error. Shoemaker rounded the bases on a Jonah Davis single past the outstretched glove of Hurt. However, that would be the lone run that scored in the ninth, with the Express winning 8-1.
Guzzo finished the game 2-2 with two hits and a walk, and added two RBI’s to help the Express offensively. Mang led the team in RBI’s on just one at bat, with his first home run of the season.
The Express will continue their four-game home stand tomorrow night at 6:35p.m. with a matchup against the Mankato MoonDogs. Eau Claire was swept at Franklin Rodgers Stadium in a two-game series a week ago. Picking up a couple of victories against the MoonDogs at home would be key for the Express in taking first place in the North Division. Austin Schulfer will be the starter for the Express, looking to follow up two stellar performances on the mound where he struck out 20 total opposing batters.
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.