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Published On: July 28th, 2023

Eau Claire, WI – In a game that ended early due to rain, the Express found themselves on the right side of the shortened battle, winning 7-2.

Kale Hopke (NDSU) took the mound as the dark clouds settled over Carson Park. Luckily for Eau Claire, this foreboding weather did not spell trouble for the home team. Hopke’s outing was a good one, as he went for 5 innings, and gave up just 2 runs on 2 hits, with 6 Ks. His 5 innings of winning baseball earned him the W in the score column tonight, as Eau Claire only had to use one other pitcher in Coby Moe (Western Kentucky).

Offensively, the Trains made their mark in just two innings, scoring 3 in the first, and 4 in the fourth. A good chunk of the runs came on a 3rd-inning Marcus Cline (Tulane) Triple, which drove in a couple early on. Cline’s line on the night was 2-3 with 3 RBI, which earned him tonight’s “Player of the Game” honors.

For Minot, they were unable to get anything going, save for a 3-hit top of the sixth inning. Unfortunately for the Hot Tots, their offensive spark was too little too late, when they recorded the final out of the top of that inning.

As the final Tot batter was retired in the inning, a swell of storms broke out in the area, wreaking havoc on the sand of the infield. The water and wind that looked as if it could strike at any moment throughout the night finally gave way and doused the field.

It was clear after a short time that the surface was no longer playable, and the rain would continue to rage on for the better part of the evening. Because of this, per Northwoods League rules, 5 innings of baseball had already been played, so the game was ruled official. It would go down as a 7-2 victory for the Express.

The Express will remain in Eau Claire Friday night for their final matchup against the Minot Hot Tots. They will look to secure the win, earning them the series sweep. First pitch at Carson Park will be thrown at 7:05 pm CT. Following the completion of the game, there will be postgame fireworks for all fans in attendance. Be sure to come out to the ballpark and see the final Fireworks show at the ballpark of the summer, you won’t want to miss it!



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 and on ESPN+. 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.