La Crosse, Wi – The Eau Claire Express were on the fast track tonight, defeating the La Crosse Loggers 10-8 at Copeland Park, earning a split in the two-game series.
Lakeland University Postgame Recap:
Eau Claire led wire to wire after jumping out to a 5-2 lead in the first two innings in La Crosse. Mason Gavre (Paradise Valley) slashed a two-run RBI in the first inning to get things started for the visitors while Matt Bottcher (Illinois-Chicago) continued to impress, hitting a two-run RBI of his own in the second. Zach Gilles (Central Michigan) plated the fifth run of the game after scoring on a pass ball.
The Loggers kept the game within reach, scoring runs in the first and second innings before Sam Stonskas (Blackhawk) and Adam LaRock (Madison College) each drove in a run in the third and fifth innings. Leading 7-2, aggressive base running by Cole Cabrera (Cal Poly) put the outfielder in position to score off of a pass ball. Cabrera’s Mustang teammate Nick Marinconz (Cal Poly) then made the Express advantage 9-2 while driving in his second RBI of the season.
The Loggers threatened Eau Claire’s lead late, plating three runs in the seventh, two in the eighth, and suggested a rally in the ninth, scoring one final run in the game. The Express would ultimately reach double digits before the night was out. Gavre would finish off his impressive night at the plate, driving in his third RBI of the night and helping the Express to 10-8 final.
Colt Mink (Flagler) gained the win after tossing six complete innings in La Crosse. Mink earned eight strikeouts in the outing and now holds a 3-2 record this season. Zach Gustafson (Minnesota State) and Rece Finck (Illinois-Springfield) made relief appearances in La Crosse. Finck picked up the save in two innings of work, striking out three batters.
Gavre and Brock Burton (Grand Canyon) each finished 2-for-4 at the plate, while Bottcher went 2-for-2. Both Bottcher and Cabrera walked three times in the ball game.
Eau Claire now hold a second-half record of 9-5 and trail the Duluth Huskies in the Great Plains East by one game.
The Express will travel to Thunder Bay Saturday to begin a four-game set with the Border Cats. First pitch is scheduled for 5:05 central time.
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.