Eau Claire Drops Final Game of Homestand 6-5 to Waterloo
Eau Claire, WI- After trailing by multiple runs for most of the evening, the Express (4-4 Second Half, 19-25 Overall) pulled within a run of tying the Waterloo Bucks (4-4 Second Half, 28-16 Overall) in the ninth, but came up just short to finish with the loss.
Eau Claire starter Drew Gillespie (New Mexico) (1-3) got off to a rough start in this one, surrendering five runs in the first three innings of what would be a four-frame outing. Only three of those fives runs, however, were charged as earned to Gillespie, as the Express defense committed errors on the first two balls-in-play of the game. Although Gillespie allowed 10 hits on the night, a solid number of those we’re hit rather poorly, simply finding the holes where Eau Claire’s fielders were not. One promising takeaway for Gillespie from tonight’s tough day at Carson Park was his ability to miss bats, crossing the four-strikeout plateau for the first time in three starts.
Following Gillespie’s exiting of the game in the fifth, Express reliever Kenny Ogg (Ohio) (0-2) was thrust into an unusual situation after Gillespie’s original replacement, Jack Wolger (California) (1-0), was removed from the game due to injury after facing just three Bucks hitters.
Ogg would go on to toss 3.1 brilliant innings of one-hit ball, striking out four while holding Waterloo scoreless before handing things over to Craig Colen (UW-Milwaukee) (0-0), who threw a 1-2-3 top of the ninth. For his efforts, Ogg was named Marshfield Clinic Player of the Game, as his dominant night of relief kept the Express in the thick of things until the bitter end.
Offensively, the Express reached base 14 times on 10 hits and four walks, with Rudy Rott’s (Ohio) solo homer (3) in the fourth being the highlight of the contest. Ty Greene (California) stayed hot by going 2-4 with a couple of singles and two runs scored, while Zach Gilles (Central Michigan) raised his team-high on base percentage up to .473 by 2-4 as well with a triple and a walk.
Tomorrow Eau Claire leaves town for St. Cloud to take on the Rox (2-6 Second Half, 27-17 Overall) at 7:05 PM. Ryan Zimmerman (St. Thomas) (1-2) is set to make the start for the Express, looking build off of his solid five-inning outing against the Rochester Honkers on July 7th, in which he recorded three strikeouts and allowed three earned runs.
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