Box Score | Virtual Guide
Eau Claire, WI- Behind Drew Gillespie’s (New Mexico) (2-3) brilliant outing on the mound, the Express (7-7 Second Half, 22-28 Overall) snuffed out the La Crosse Loggers (5-9 Second Half, 19-29 Overall) by a score of 4-1 on Friday night at Carson Park.
Gillespie tossed seven shutout innings in which he allowed just one base hit, striking out six and walking four on his way to earning his second win of the season. This was the first time this year Gillespie reached the sixth inning or further, as he pounded the zone for 62 strikes while missing on just 38 balls.
Entering the ball game in the top of the ninth with runners on second and third, Eau Claire closer Victor Chavez (Scottsdale CC) locked up his seventh save of the season by striking out the final two La Crosse batters of the evening.
Shortstop Justin Evans (Columbus St.) carried the torch for the Express offensively, roping a two-run double into the gap in left center to break the 0-0 tie in the bottom of the third. Evans would be back in the spotlight in the eighth, this time on the defensive end, laying out to make a fantastic diving-snag on a looping line drive.
Eau Claire would remain ahead in the driver’s for the remainder of the night, adding their final two runs on a single by second baseman Luke Bandy (Dallas Baptist) in the fifth.
With the win, the Express pulled themselves within eight games back of the full-season North Division lead after playing .500 ball over their last 10 contests.
Tomorrow Eau Claire will hit the road for Bismarck to kick off a weekend duel with the Larks (8-6 Second Half, 24-25 Overall). Saturday night’s game is scheduled to commence at 6:05 PM, with the Express sending Ryan Zimmerman (St. Thomas) (1-2) to the mound to make his eighth start of the season.
In 33 innings pitched with Eau Claire in 2017, the right-handed Zimmerman is carrying a 5.18 ERA with a 31/17 strikeout-to-walk ratio.
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.