Box Score Game 1 / Box Score Game 2
Eau Claire, WI- After dropping the first bout of the night 4-3, the Express (11-15) bounced back with a 3-2, bottom of the tenth, walk-off victory over the Duluth Huskies (14-13) on Sunday night.
Beginning with Eau Claire up 2-1 in the top of the fourth, the first contest of the night was a continuation of June 16th’s rain-shortened tussle with Duluth that ended tonight with the Express allowing the Huskies to grab the winning-runs in the ninth top of the ninth. Eau Claire starting pitcher Riley Johnson (0-2) was given the chance to finish what he started, getting the nod on the mound back in mid-June, and for tonight’s finishing of the game.
Johnson (with several days of rest in-between) threw nine innings, striking out ten and allowing three earned runs to cross the plate. Although he pitched well, the North Dakota St. freshman was handed the loss when Duluth snagged the lead off of him in the final frame, after they had been trailing or tied since the bottom of the first.
The second act of tonight’s doubleheader ended with a much more favorable result for the Express, with Rudy Rott sending the Carson Park faithful home happy on this walk-off infield single.
St. Thomas starter Ryan Zimmerman (1-1) started this one on the hill for Eau Claire in the nightcap, tossing seven dominant shutout innings in which he struck out nine and walked none. The fantastic outing dropped the righty’s ERA on the season down to 2.70, as he’s been one of the team’s most reliable starters in 2017 since making his season debut back on June 3rd.
Up 1-0 in the seventh (this game was scheduled to end after the seventh inning due to time constraints) with their only run coming on a Zach Ashford single in the third, Express closer Victor Chavez allowed the Huskies to tie the ball game on a Dean Nevarez RBI-triple.
Following a scoreless eighth, the two teams traded blows in the ninth as Chavez allowed a run to score on Mike Frazier’s run-scoring double, before Eau Claire right fielder Beau Capanna tied things up again in the bottom half with an RBI-single.
Finally, Express reliever Austin George tossed a scoreless top of the ninth to set up Rott’s walk-off single that score Zach Gilles from third to put an end to an unusually long night for both teams.
The two squads meet up again tomorrow in Dultuth at 6:35 PM, with Ohio left-hander Gerry Salisbury (1-0) scheduled to get the start for Eau Claire after putting up seven scoreless innings in his season debut at La Crosse.
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.