Express drop July 7th postponed game 7-5
Eau Claire, Wis.— The Express dropped their first game following the Northwoods League All Star Break 7-5 to North Division rivals, the St. Cloud Rox. The game was a continuation of a July 7th matchup that was postponed due to lightning.
The first game of the night was a continuation of a game postponed by lightning from back on July 7th. The game was postponed after two and a half innings of play with St. Cloud leading 3-2. Ben Mezzenga had an RBI fielder’s choice, and Mickey McDonald hit a ground ball that scored a second run to produce Eau Claire’s two runs. Webb Bobo led the Rox with a two RBI double off the fence in the bottom of the sixth two weeks ago at Joe Faber Field.
Caleb Boushley, who started the game back on the 7th retook the mound following his scoreless inning at the Northwoods League All Star Game. Boushley started the game in stride, forcing three straight groundouts for a 1-2-3 bottom of the third (the first inning of play in tonight’s game).
Sam Hurt started the fourth inning with a bang, hitting a triple in the gap in right-center field. Hurt’s lead off triple, his team-leading third three baggers of the season, came against Carlo Graffeo who replaced Dan Metzdorf on the mound from the July 7th postponement. Ripken Reyes tied the game on a grounder to score Hurt from third, reaching safely himself on a throwing error by the St. Cloud shortstop. A single by Mezzenga and a second error on a McDonald grounder loaded the bases against Graffeo. The right-hander hit Jared Mang in the ribs with a fastball, walking home Reyes to give Eau Claire its first lead of the game, 4-3.
Brett Pope led off the bottom of the fourth with a slicing double to the corner in left field, the first hit for St. Cloud following the resume of play at Joe Faber Field. Bobo tallied his third RBI of the game on a one-run single through the right side of the infield to score Pope and level the score at four. Marcus Carson put runners on the corners with a single of his home, which was followed up by a Ricky Ramirez RBI double to retake a 5-4 lead for the Rox. Coming off a four hit performance at the All Star Game in Kenosha, Luke Ringhofer continued his hot hitting streak with a two-run single down the first base line to extend the Rox lead to three runs.
Mezzenga led of the sixth inning with his third hit of the game, a sharp single to shallow left field. Following two stolen bases, Varsho drove home the University of Minnesota product on a sacrifice fly to tally his 37th RBI of the year. The deep fly ball cut the score to 7-5 after 5.5 at “The Rock Pile”.
Ryan Zimmerman, a right-handed reliever from the University of St. Thomas, took over for Boushley in the fifth, pitching three innings of shut out baseball with just one hit allowed and one walk issued. Dylan Smith pitched a scoreless eighth inning to give the Express a chance to tie the game in the final frame, trailing by two runs.
Brian Glowicki started the ninth expertly on the mound for St. Cloud, fanning the first batter he faced. The closer from the University of Minnesota proceeded to strikeout the next Express hitter, and forced a fly out to earn the save, his third this season.
Boushley was credited with his second loss of the season in the first game following the three-day All Star Break. Mezzenga had a strong performance at the plate, with three hits, one RBI, and one run scored. Hurt scored two runs in the game on two hits, including his third triple of the year.
The Express will play their second game of the night at Joe Faber Field at 9:10 p.m. Eau Claire will hope to rebound in the seven inning game, as Michael Gomez pursues his second win of the season in six starts.
The Eau Claire Express have won the Northwoods League North Division and have earned a trip to the playoffs for the first time since winning the Northwoods League Championship in 2010. They will host a playoff game at Carson Park on Monday August 15th 6:35pm. Group and individual game tickets are on sale now! Season tickets and single-game tickets for the regular season are also on sale now for Express home games. 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, 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 portal. For more information, visit www.eauclaireexpress.com or download the new Northwoods League Mobile App on the Apple App Store and set the Express as your favorite team.