Express Drop Series With Mankato in 12-5 Loss

*In the fourth inning of tonight’s game, Eau Claire second baseman Luke Bandy was pulled from the action and replaced by Justin Evans. Bandy would later be taken to the hospital via ambulance to be treated for an unknown ailment. Upon checking into the hospital, Bandy let everyone know via text that he was feeling much better and is doing well. We will be sure keep everyone updated on this situation as we receive new information regarding Luke’s condition. We wish him the best, and hope he sees a speedy recovery in the coming days.

Box Score

Mankato, MN- Outscored 29-8 over the course of this three game series with the Mankato MoonDogs (16-16), the Express (14-18) were handed a final blow Friday night in a 12-5 throttling at Franklin Rogers Park.

For the second straight night, a New Mexico starting pitcher struggled from the get go for Eau Claire, as right-hander Drew Gillespie (1-2) was shelled in the first inning for five runs before being removed in the second. Gillespie’s nightmare outing was similar to that of his colligate teammate Cody Dye’s brutal start from Thursday, in which Dye surrendered six runs over two innings in a 14-0 loss for the Express.

Gillespie surpassed the single-inning 35-pitch limit in the first, meaning he was forced to come out of the game in the second frame. Taking over for Gillespie, Eau Claire reliever Josh Gaworski wound up tossing five innings in which he allowed four earned runs and recorded five strikeouts. Third baseman Scott Ogrin handled the final two innings of mop-up duty by surrendering one more run and walking three MoonDog batters.

Express first baseman Rudy Rott launched his second home run of the season in the top of the fifth inning, providing one of the few offensive highlights of the night for the boys in orange and black. The Eau Claire positional group was out-hit 13-7 by the MoonDogs, and committed two errors in what was a performance to forget as they pack their bags for Waterloo.

Tomorrow the Express will begin a two-game stand with the division-leading Bucks (21-11), who will be coming off tonight’s 6-4 victory over the Rochester Honkers. St. Thomas hurler Ryan Zimmerman (1-1) is scheduled to start Saturday night’s game for Eau Claire, with first pitch set for 6:35 PM.

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 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.