Eau Claire, WI – Tied up at three runs apiece with runners on the corners and one out in the bottom of the ninth, the Express failed to complete an inning-ending 4-6-3 double play, resulting in the winning run scoring from third for the Bucks. Dropping Eau Claire to eighth place in the North Division with a record of 3-5.
A back-and-forth affair began when Express left fielder Daniel Jones connected on the team’s first home run of the season in the second inning. Sending a 1-0 pitch over the wall in left for a solo shot to give Eau Claire an early one-run lead.
But, as they seemed to do for the entire night, Waterloo would come up with an answer in the bottom of the frame, when Josh Elvir drove in a run on a fielder’s choice. After the Express reached out to grab one-run leads in the third and sixth innings, Waterloo matched them almost immediately.
Scoring in the bottom of the third following a Justin Evans RBI triple in the top of the inning, and then once more in the seventh, after Nic Ready had driven in a run during the sixth. Finally, the Bucks took their first lead of the game in the bottom of the ninth to secure their division leading sixth win.
Lane Ramsey received a no decision in his first appearance on the mound in an Express uniform after surrendering two runs over six innings. The 6’8 right-hander struggled to stay in the zone for several parts of the night, walking five batters while striking out just two. But, as has become the norm for Eau Claire starters in 2017, Ramsey found a way to avoid allowing the opponent to cross the plate.
Facing 25 batters before exiting the game with a one-run lead, Ramsey was relieved in the seventh by Chase Dreger, who would pitch the final three innings. After allowing the tying and winning runs to score Dreger was handed the loss, while Waterloo reliever Zachary Patterson was awarded the win for his efforts in the top of the ninth.
The Express will return home tomorrow night for a 6:35 matchup with the Rochester Honkers. In what will be the team’s first meeting with Rochester this season, Eau Claire-native Travis Berg is slated to make his first start on the mound at historic Carson Park. The Minnesota-Duluth freshman allowed three earned runs over six innings in his first start of the season against Bismark. Striking out six on his way picking up the win in the Express’ first victory of the year.
The Eau Claire Express are a member of the finest developmental league for elite college baseball players, the Northwoods League. The 23-year-old summer collegiate league is the largest organized baseball league in the world with 20 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 170 former Northwoods League players have advanced to Major League Baseball, including two-time Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer (WAS), two-time World Series Champion Ben Zobrist (CHC) and MLB All-Stars Chris Sale (BOS), Jordan Zimmermann (DET), Curtis Granderson (NYM) and Lucas Duda (NYM). 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 or on Google Play and set the Express as your favorite team.