Eau Claire, WI – In his first game back from that scary incident in Mankato, Express (15-20) second baseman Luke Bandy led the way for Eau Claire in a 4-2 win over the Thunder Bay Border Cats (12-22) at Carson Park.
Just a few days removed from leaving Franklin Rogers Park in an ambulance to be treated for dehydration, Dallas Baptist product Luke Bandy walked away with Marshfield Clinic Player of the Game honors Monday night, going 2-5 with an RBI-double in his fourth at-bat.
Pitching into the seventh inning for the third consecutive start was Express starting pitcher, Aaron Shortridge (3-1). The 6’3 righty out of California extended his stretch of scoreless innings thrown to 18 before surrendering a couple of runs in the fifth of tonight's ballgame. Although his streak was snapped, Shortridge pitched brilliantly, earning his third win of the season while striking out six Border Cats hitters.
Chase Dreger and Vitcor Chavez, who extinguished any hope for a Thunder Bay comeback by allowing just two Border Cats to reach base for the remainder of the game, handled the eighth and ninth innings for Eau Claire. Dreger struck out none and walked none in the eighth while Chavez struck out two and walked one in the ninth.
The Express took an early 2-0 lead in the third on a run-scoring double by third baseman Kyle Marinconz, followed by an RBI-single from Bandy. Thunder Bay answered in the fifth with two runs of their own, but Eau Claire would reclaim the lead in the sixth on a Zach Gilles sac-fly. Bandy would then add the insurance run in the bottom of the eighth by scoring Zach Ashford from first on a two-bagger into the gap in left-center.
Tomorrow the Express will host the Border Cats at Carson Park once more in front of, what should be, an electrifying Fourth of July crowd. First pitch is scheduled to be delivered by Lane Ramsey (0-2) at 6:05 PM, with gates opening a half-hour earlier than normal at 4:30 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 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.