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Published On: January 10th, 2020

The Eau Claire Express took some time over the winter break to meet up with several 2019 Express Alumni including Matt Bottcher. Click the link below to hear from the man himself.

Bottcher joined the Express after completing his junior season at the University of Illinois Chicago. In 2019, Bottcher and the UIC Flames won their sixth Horizon League Tournament title after defeating UW-Milwaukee and advancing to the NCAA Louisville Regional. Bottcher was a large part of the UIC roster in 2019, playing in and starting 46 games for the Flames. At season end, the Romeoville, Illinois native was tied for the team lead in triples with 2 and held a .279 batting average with 51 hits.  Notably, Bottcher was able to shine when the spotlight was at its brightest during the Horizon League Tournament where his batting was .364 over the course of the tournament.

Bottcher arrived in Eau Claire and quickly locked down the second base roll for the Express. During the season Bottcher slashed .367/.445/.485 with 18 extra-base knocks, 20 stolen bases, and 40 RBIs. Bottcher helped the Express to a 40-30 overall record, a return to the playoffs, a Great Plains Championship title, and a trip to the 2019 Northwoods League Championship game.

Bottcher’s performances earned him the right to play in the 2019 Northwoods League All-Star Game in Waterloo where he picked up a hit in two at-bats and nabbed one stolen base while representing the Express. Later in the season, Bottcher was invited to the Major League Dreams Showcase.

Bottcher’s season-long performance earned him a 2019 Postseason All-Star Team selection and a 2019 Rawlings ‘Big Stick’ award. Bottcher’s .367 average was good for second overall among ‘Big Stick’ award winners, but it was also the second-highest batting average in Express history. Additionally, the University of Illinois-Chicago product set a single-season Express mark in hits with 84, tied the season-long record with 7 doubles, and also put his name up on the Express leader boards in single-season RBI’s, on-base percentage, and slugging. Bottcher is also among single-game record leaders in at-bats in a game, hits in a single game, and doubles in a game.

The senior is set to return to UIC to play his final year with the Flames.

Keep a lookout all off-season for more alumni updates presented by Lakeland University. At Lakeland University you’ll find unique 14-week BlendEd courses that allow you to complete coursework either online or in class from week to week depending on your location, schedule, and other life commitments allowing you to choose the format that works best for you.


The Eau Claire Express are a member of the finest developmental league for elite college baseball players, the Northwoods League. The Northwoods League is the proven leader in the development of elite college baseball players. Having completed its’ 26th season, the Northwoods 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 230 Northwoods League players have advanced to Major League Baseball, including three-time Cy Young Award winner and World Series Champion Max Scherzer (WAS), two-time World Series Champions Ben Zobrist (CHC) and Brandon Crawford (SFG) and World Series Champion Chris Sale (BOS). As well as 2019 Rookie of the Year and Home Run Derby Champion Pete Alonso (NYM) and MLB All-Stars Jordan Zimmermann (DET) and Curtis Granderson (MIA). All league games are viewable live via the Northwoods League website. All league games are viewable live via the Northwoods League portal. For more information, visit 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.