Eau Claire, WI – Eau Claire once again played the Border Cats, and Eau Claire once again beat them at home with a final score of 7-5.
Things didn’t look too hot to start the game, as Thunder Bay jumped out to an early 3-0 lead in the first, capitalizing off of a costly Eau Claire error. Luckily, the bottom half of that inning saw Cole Conn (UIC) drive in a run, bringing in Cort MacDonald (Stanford) on a Sac Fly.
In the bottom of the 3rd inning, Dylan O’Connell (St. Thomas) knocked in the first 2 RBIs of his night on a well-hit single to the left fielder. He would go on to bring one more run in on an error by the Thunder Bay 3rd baseman in the bottom of the 8th inning. This late-game run was a pivotal insurance run late in the game to put the Express up by 2.
Kaden Galason (Belmont) had a great night both at the plate and in the field. He went 1-3 with a Home Run and a highlight-reel diving catch in Rightfield. This run again came in a crucial time to even the two teams up at 4 runs apiece.
The Eau Claire arms were dealing tonight, as it took 6 different pitchers to get the win for the squad. The rotation of Isaiah Katz. (UW-La Crosse), Tyler Schmitt (UW-La Crosse), Dillon Schueler (Sauk Valley CC), Freddy Rodriguez (Cal Poly), Tayler Montiel (Tulane), and Matt Helwig (Lewis) combined to record an astounding 21 strikeouts to opposing batters. Schmitt led the squad with 8 Ks through 4 innings, and Helwig was right behind him with 4 Ks of his own.
Helwig’s 4 strikeouts all came in the final 2 innings when he came in to close the door on a potential Thunder Bay comeback. As he entered the game, there was only one out in the top of the 8th. Bases were loaded, and the Border Cats sent out the heart of their lineup. Helwig was not phased though, as he calmly struck out the first 2 batters he faced, and ended the inning with minimal damage. In the top of the 9th, he kept this momentum going and closed out the game, earning his 9th save of the season.
The Express will be on the road tomorrow, facing the Wilmar Stingers in Wilmar Minnesota. First pitch will be at 7:05 pm CT, so be sure to tune into the game on 106.7 FM-Moose Country, or watch the live stream on ESPN+.
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. Now in its’ 30th season, the Northwoods League is the largest organized baseball league in the world with 24 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 325 Northwoods League players have advanced to Major League Baseball, including three-time All-Star and 2016 Roberto Clemente Award winner Curtis Granderson, three-time Cy Young Award winner and World Series Champion Max Scherzer (NYM), two-time World Series Champions Ben Zobrist and Brandon Crawford (SFG) and World Series Champion Chris Sale (BOS). As well as 2019 Rookie of the Year and 2019/2021 Home Run Derby Champion Pete Alonso (NYM) and 2021 All-Star, MLB Gold Glove winner and 2019 Second Team All-MLB shortstop Marcus Semien (TEX). All league games are viewable live via the Northwoods League website. League games are viewable live at watchnwl.com and on ESPN+. 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.