Express Fall 6-4 in Duluth Just After Snapping Five-Game Losing Streak
Eau Claire, WI – Drew Gillespie’s first appearance with the Express (5-11) back on June 7th against Rochester was one of absolute dominance, as the New Mexico right-hander entered the fray in the middle of a game to toss five innings of shutout ball with six strikeouts.
Tonight, however, Gillepsie was unable to weave together another fantastic outing in his first official start with the team. Lasting just four innings and surrendering five runs (three of them earned). Gillespie would end up with the loss, as Eau Claire went on to drop this one 6-4 to the Duluth Huskies (9-8).
The defeat arrives just after a win in Willmar snapped their five-game losing streak, dropping the Express back into a tie with La Crosse for last place in the North Division
Problems arose for Gillespie early on with the game tied at one apiece in the bottom of the fourth inning. Duluth would punch in four runs on four hits and an error, putting the Express in a 5-1 hole that they were never able to climb out of.
While the Eau Claire offense couldn’t find a way to outscore the opposition, it wasn’t for a lack of opportunity. The team loaded the bases in the top of the fifth with two outs, but only cashed in on one run after Ty Greene worked a walk to score Beau Capanna to make it 5-2. On the night, the Express bats actually matched Duluth’s hit total on the night (8), and reached base more often than the Huskies when accounting for walks and hit batsmen.
Trailing 6-4 in the bottom of the ninth, the Express would threaten by bringing the tying-run to the plate in Luke Bandy with one out and Rudy Rott standing on first. But Eau Claire failed to capitalize, as Bandy popped up to the infield before Greene lined out to left for the final out of the ballgame.
On a positive note, New Mexico product Beau Capanna experienced a bit of a breakout in Thursday night’s loss, going 3-4 in the nine-hole to raise his batting average to .238. Capanna, a late arrival, has only stepped-in for 17 at-bats in his short time in Eau Claire and hasn’t yet had a chance to settle in to the Northwoods League grind. But if the former 21st round draft pick of the Boston Red Sox is able to deliver production like this on a nightly-basis, the Express lineup could begin to look rather deep and dangerous going forward.
The team will return to Carson Park Friday night at 7:05 PM to finish up this home-and-home series with Duluth.
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.