APPLETON, WI – The Fond du Lac Dock Spiders (7-2) will take on the Green Bay Rockers (3-6) at Neuroscience Group Field at Fox Cities Stadium in Appleton, Wisconsin, home of the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers, for the inaugural I-41 Showdown tonight at 6:35 p.m. The game marks the first-ever Northwoods League game to be played at a current minor league baseball stadium. The game can be streamed live on the Northwoods League Baseball Network with pregame beginning at 6:30 before first pitch at 6:35.
WELCOME TO APPLETON: Today’s game between the Fond du Lac Dock Spiders and Green Bay Rockers is set to become the first ever Northwoods League game played at a current minor league ballpark. The two match up at Neuroscience Group Field at Fox Cities Stadium, home of the Single-A Wisconsin Timber Rattlers, an affiliate of the Milwaukee Brewers. The Timber Rattlers are the sister team of the Dock Spiders, and both are owned by Third Base Ventures. The Timber Rattlers are on the road this week against the Beloit Sky Carp (Single-A, Miami Marlins), and are currently in second place in the Midwest League West Division with a 31-22 record.
ALMOST ANOTHER COMEBACK: The Fond du Lac Dock Spiders scored the final three runs of the game, but couldn’t complete the comeback in a 6-3 loss to the Green Bay Rockers on Wednesday night. After the Rockers scored the first six runs of the ballgame, the Dock Spiders tallied two in the eighth off an RBI single from Jared Payne and an RBI walk from Kyte McDonald. In the ninth, Grant Hussey laced a double to deep left center that allowed Evan Stone to score the third run of the night. The Dock Spiders would bring the tying run to the plate, but reliever Chase Pelter induced a groundout to first to end the night.
THE NEW GUYS: Three different Dock Spiders, Grant Hussey (West Virginia), Jared Payne (Charleston Southern) and Luke Vaks (College of Charleston), made their first appearances of the year during Wednesday night’s game. Hussey entered the game as a pinch hitter and tallied three hits, including a double in the ninth to drive home Evan Stone. Hussey lead all Big 12 freshman with 11 home runs this spring at West Virginia. Payne also tallied a multi-hit night with singles in the seventh and eighth. Vaks, a right-handed pitcher, pitched a perfect ninth inning, including back-to-back strikeouts.
ABOUT THAT ARM BARN: After 6.1 innings of one-run ball on Wednesday night from the bullpen, the Dock Spiders bullpen has allowed just three runs over their last 20 innings of work, a 1.35 ERA. Four different relievers currently have scoreless streaks of at least three, led by Stephen Schissler’s 6.1 shutout innings to start the year. On Wednesday, the bullpen didn’t allow a hit after the sixth inning, and retired 10 of the final 13 batters.
PALMETTO STATE NOTES: After Evan Stone reached base three times last night in five plate appearances, the South Carolina native has now reached base in seven of his last nine plate appearances. Stone leads the Dock Spiders in average (.438), the third-best mark in the Northwoods League, and is tied for second in the NWL with 14 hits.
TODAY’S STARTING PITCHING MATCH-UP
RHP David Hagaman (FDL): Hagaman makes his first start since July of 2021 in the Futures Collegiate Baseball League with the Pittsfield Suns. He comes off a six strikeout performance against Madison on Saturday to tie his career high.
RHP WILL SEMB (GB): The Minnesota righty tossed four innings on Friday at Wausau in his only start of the year, striking out five and allowing four runs. He made 23 appearances this spring for the Gophers after transferring from Iowa. Semb is also a returning Rocker, and allowed six runs in 4.1 innings against the Dock Spiders in 2021.