Eau Claire, WI- The Eau Claire Express (4-9) just can't seem to get in sync in the early-goings of their 2017 campaign, following up last night's loss in a pitchers duel with another notch in the "L" column after a Sunday night slugfest with Mankato (6-7).
Both teams combined to tally 20 hits in this one, with the MoonDogs able to move just one more of their 15 total baserunners to edge out the victory.
Unlike most offensive explosions of this nature, there would be just one long ball hit in this one, coming in the first at-bat of the contest on a full-count swing by Mankato's Alvaro Rubalcaba. That lead-off laser set the tone for the night, as the Express found themselves playing catch-up for the rest of the night. Eau Claire would actually tie the ballgame at 6-6 in the fourth on a two-run single by Robby Campillo, but the Mankato's North Division-leading offense answered right back in the sixth, hanging five runs on Express reliever Aaron Shortridge (0-1).
Trailing 11-8 in the bottom of the eighth, the Express came up with two runs on a single by a new arrival, Luke Bandy. But unfortunately, Bandy would be thrown out trying to stretch his hit into a double, ending the threat. In the ninth, Eau Claire would go down in order to put a stamp on their fourth-consecutive loss.
The Express will be back at Carson Park tomorrow night for a 6:35 rematch with the MoonDogs, before leaving town for a three-day road trip.
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.