Loggers End Road Trip With a Win in Willmar
Willmar, Minn. – La Crosse swept their first series since June 22nd with a 7-6 win over the Willmar Stingers in Bill Taunton Stadium. The win makes it three straight against the Stingers, tying the season series at four apiece.
La Crosse put up the first runs of the ballgame on the scoreboard in the 1st inning with 3 walks. With two outs, Mason McCoy (Iowa) scored from 3rd base on a wild pitch, moving the other two runs up a base also. Before the next pitch, an error by Stingers pitcher Pearson McMahan (St. Johns River State) allowed Grant Fennell (Nevada) to score. Griffin Conine (Duke) was thrown out on the play on a rundown for the 3rd out of the inning. McMahan was taken out of the game after the 1st inning.
Much like last night, La Crosse jumped out to a large lead again, with 3 runs in the 3rd inning. Mason McCoy (Iowa) singled to lead off the inning, and reached 2nd on an error by the left fielder, and to 3rd on a wild pitch in the next at-bat. Cullen Large (William & Mary) brought him in with a groundout to the second baseman. Grant Fennell singled to set up a 2-run home run by Griffin Conine, tying the the league-leading mark of 9 home runs for the season and giving the Loggers a 5-0 lead early.
Willmar responded in their half of the 3rd by loading the bases with 2 singles and walk, all with no outs. The Loggers’ defense quickly got an out on a grounder to the pitcher Connor Wollersheim (Kent State), who got the lead runner out with a force out at home. But, they could not keep the Stingers’ offense from cracking the scoreboard. Greg Lambert (Southern Illinois) doubled to left field, scoring 2 runs for Willmar.
Wollersheim was taken out with no outs in the 4th inning. Taylor Blatch (Florida State) inherited 2 baserunners, but did not let either of them score, maintaining the La Crosse lead.
Mason McCoy reached on another Willmar error, this time to lead off the 5th inning. He scored his 3rd run of the game on a Lars Nootbaar (USC) double to right field. La Crosse also added another run the next inning on a single by catcher Cesar Salazar (Arizona) that scored Griffin Conine.
The relentless Stingers kept the Loggers from running away with the game. Luke Becker (Kentucky) walked to lead off the bottom of the 6th. After a wild pitch moved him to 2nd base, he scored on a single up the middle by Travis Wacker (Oklahoma State). Tyler Smith (Pepperdine) followed him with a double that scored Wacker. An error by La Crosse centerfield Lars Nootbaar allowed Smith to score, cutting down the La Crosse lead to two runs before Lorenzo Hampton Jr. (California) was able to shut down the inning on the mound.
Willmar got a run off Hampton Jr. in the 7th, but Dave Smith (Long Beach State) finished the game from the middle of the 8th out for the Loggers on the mound for his 2nd save of the season.
Taylor Blatch got the win (1-1) with 2.1 innings pitched in relief. He gave up 3 runs on 4 hits. He walks a batter and struck out 4.
Pearson McMahon dropped his 3rd start (0-3) with 1.0 inning pitched. He gave up 2 runs (1 earned) on no hits. He walked 3 batters and struck out 2.
La Crosse gets over .500 for the first time in the 2nd half with their 3rd straight win to move to 7-6 (24-25 overall). Willmar drops their 3rd straight game, falling to 8-6 in the 2nd half (26-24 overall). The Loggers are now just two games out of 1st place in the 2nd Half North Division race, moving up to 4th place. They are 9.5 games back in the overall standings.
The Loggers return home after the long road trip to face the Eau Claire Express for one home game, before embarking on another road trip. Catch the game at the Lumberyard at 6:05 PM. Gates open at 5!