Eau Claire, WI- Leading by as many as four runs in the early goings, the Express (Second Half 3-3, 18-24 Overall) were outslugged 12-11 in a comeback win for the Duluth Huskies (Second Half 4-2, Overall 19-22) on Monday Night.
Eau Claire starting pitcher Lane Ramsey (Oklahoma) was thoroughly roughed up for six earned runs through five innings in what was arguably his first disappointing outing of the season. Before tonight, Ramsey had yet to allow more than three earned runs in a game or exit a ballgame before the conclusion of the sixth inning. While the 6’8 right-hander gave up nine base knocks on the evening, he was able to keep the free passes to a minimum (1), showing improvement in what has been one of his few weaknesses since joining the Express back in early June.
Each Eau Claire reliever who appeared in this game ended up being responsible for at least one of Duluth’s 12 runs. Chase Dreger (Colby CC) allowed one run to score on one hit while striking out two, Cody Dye (New Mexico) was knocked around for three earned runs in the eighth before Kenny Ogg (Ohio) (0-2) allowed the winning run to score on a ground-rule double in the top of the ninth.
While the team’s pitching staff struggled, the Express offense seemingly broke out of what has felt like a season-long power drought, as catcher Matt Duce (Dallas Baptist) and right fielder Ty Greene (California) each launched home runs that cleared the fan deck in right field.
Although the 14-hit, 11-run explosion was a promising building block for an Eau Claire lineup that has had trouble putting together big-time outputs like tonight’s performance, the timing with one of the pitching staff’s rare off nights was rather unfortunate.
Tomorrow the Express will be back at Carson Park to take on the Waterloo Bucks (3-3 Second Half, 27-15), owners of the North Division’s best season-long record. First pitch is scheduled for 6:35 PM, with Luke Eldred (Dallas Baptist) penciled in to get the nod on the mound for Eau Claire. Eldred is coming off of his most spectacular appearance of the season, in which he tossed a complete against the La Crosse Loggers
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 180 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.