Eau Claire, Wisc.- The Loggers give up 16 runs after taking an early 2-0 lead to fall to the Eau Claire Express on the Fourth of July, 6-16.
With one out in the 1st inning, Griffin Conine (Duke) struck first with a home run on a full count. Cullen Large (William & Mary) followed him with a solo shot of his own.
That lead did not last past the inning. The first 5 Express batters reached on two walks, two errors, and a single, tying the game at 2-2. Kyle Marinconz (Cal Poly) single to score Dalton Varsho (UW-Milwaukee) for the go-ahead run.
Loggers’ starting pitcher Jonathan Teaney (San Diego) threw 37 pitches in the opening frame, and because of Northwoods League pitching rules, was not allowed to return in the next inning.
Jack Ralston (UCLA) came into the game in relief. During his first inning of work, Varsho brought in the 4th Express runner of the game with a two-out single in the 2nd.
La Crosse brought the game within a run in the 4th with runners on 1st and 2nd with two outs. Lorenzo Hampton Jr. (California) scored Justin Wylie (San Diego State) from 2nd on a single. A groundout ended the threat before the Lumbermen could score again.
After a scoreless 3rd inning, things got ugly for the Loggers in the next innings. Eau Claire scored 11 runs in the 4th and 5th innings on 7 hits, 5 walks, a wild pitch, and a balk.
La Crosse put together 3 runs in the 7th on RBI singles by Mason McCoy (Iowa) and Grant Fennell (Nevada).
Because of a short start and an exhausted bullpen, position players Lorenzo Hampton Jr. (California) and Mason McCoy pitched the last 3.1 innings of the game.
Jonathan Teaney takes his first loss of the season (4-1). In his one inning, he gave up 3 runs (one earned) on 2 hits. He walks 2 with 1 strikeout.
Jake Sommers earns the win (2-2) with his 2.2 innings of work. He gave up 3 runs on 3 hits, with 2 walks and 3 strikeouts.
On the bright side, Griffin Conine has been putting up great numbers from the plate this week. Since the the away/home doubleheader against Waterloo (6/29), Griffin has batted 11 for 25 (.444) with 3 doubles and 2 home runs.
The Loggers fall to 17-18 with the loss. Eau Claire (24-11) now takes the North Division lead by a half game after St. Cloud lost in Rockford tonight. La Crosse returns home tomorrow night for the final game of the first half, against the Eau Claire Express. Game time is 7:05 with the gates opening at 6 pm.
Have a safe and happy Fourth of July!