Eau Claire, WI- Good pitching, better hitting was the recipe to success for the Express (10-13) tonight as they throttled the Rochester Honkers (12-13) 13-3 at Carson Park Saturday night.
Starting on the mound for Eau Claire was New Mexico right-hander Drew Gillespie (1-1), who was nothing short of brilliant through the game’s first four innings. Through four frames, Gillespie shutout the Honkers, fanning six batters while allowing just one hit. The freshman would get into a bit of trouble in the fifth, surrendering his first runs of the ball game on a bases-clearing double to Zach Zubia. Gillespie would retire the next hitter (his final batter faced) with a strikeout to bring his K total on the night to eight.
Gillespie’s New Mexico teammate Cody Dye took over in the sixth, extinguishing any hope for a Rochester comeback by tossing four no-hit frames to finish this one off. By throwing more than three innings with the lead, Dye was awarded his first save of the season.
Cal Poly infielder and third-year returning Express player, Kyle Marinconz, wasted no time getting re-acclimated with the friendly confines of Carson Park, going 3-6 with five RBI in his first appearance with Eau Claire this season. The freshman was recognized as the Northwoods League Player of the Night after coming just one run-driven-in of the organizational record for RBI in a single game (6).
Obviously it takes more than one batter’s prowess to will an offense to power a 13-run output, as Rudy Rott (1) and Justin Evans (3) each delivered solo home runs to compliment Marinconz’s three run-producing singles.
The Express will host their first double header of 2017 tomorrow night against the Duluth Huskies, with the first game set to take place at 5:05 PM. That first contest is actually a continuation of a Duluth-Eau Claire matchup that was postponed mid-game due to rain. The two teams will play until the seventh and start from where they left off on June 16th, with the Express leading 2-1 in the fourth. The second game will begin thirty minutes after the first game’s final out is recorded, and will be a full nine-inning affair.
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.