Mankato, MN – Eau Claire topped Mankato 11-3, finishing second in the Great Plains East first-half standings Tuesday evening at Franklin Rogers Park in Minnesota.
Lakeland University Postgame Recap: The Express had to come back from an early deficit in order to sweep the MoonDogs in their two-game set. Mankato plated two runs in the bottom half of the first inning before Eau Claire could get the bats going.
Matt Bottcher (Illinois-Chicago) drove in a run in the third inning to get things going for the Express. Vincent Martinez (Stanford) gave Eau Claire the lead later in the inning with a two-RBI single, making the score 4-2.
The MoonDogs would pull one back in the bottom half of the third inning before all of the game’s momentum would swing to the visitors. Cole Cabrera (Cal Poly) hit an RBI-single in the fourth, scoring Brandon Dieter (Stanford), and giving the Express some breathing room.
Eau Claire would roll from there, scoring three runs in each of the final two innings. Dieter, Connor Laspina (Flagler) and Cabrera all drove in runs in the eighth. David LaManna (Notre Dame) and Nick Lopez (Illinois-Chicago) sealed the result for the Express with RBI-singles in the ninth to make the final score 11-3.
Eau Claire starter, Matt Verdun (Lewis), picked up his first win of the season with a strong performance in Minnesota. Verdun tossed seven complete innings, striking out seven batters, and dropping his ERA to 3.14. Brannon Jordan (Cowley) entered in relief and faced the final eight batters of the game, picking up two K’s.
Laspina finished the game going 3-for-4 from the plate, notching a single RBI, his sixth of the season. Both LaManna and Lopez went 2-for-5, with the Stanford product driving in two runs. Martinez was a combined 4-for-9 in the series against Mankato with a total of five RBIs.
Despite sweeping Mankato and extending their winning streak to five, the Eau Claire Express finished second in the Great Plains East first-half standings after the Waterloo Bucks defeated Thunder Bay earlier in the evening to claim the first-half title.
Eau Claire will travel to La Crosse Wednesday to begin their second-half schedule before returning to Carson Park on the 4th of July.
The Eau Claire Express are a member of the finest developmental league for elite college baseball players, the Northwoods League. The 25-year old summer collegiate league is the largest organized baseball league in the world with 22 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, over 200 former Northwoods League players have advanced to Major League Baseball, including three-time Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer (WAS), two-time World Series Champions Ben Zobrist (CHC) and Brandon Crawford (SFG) and MLB All-Stars Chris Sale (BOS), Jordan Zimmermann (DET) and Curtis Granderson (MIA). 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.