Loggers sweep doubleheader over Thunder Bay
LA CROSSE, WIS. – The La Crosse Loggers proved they could win in a variety of ways on Wednesday as they swept the Thunder Bay Border Cats with final scores of 22-9 and 2-0 in the day-night doubleheader.
The La Crosse offense broke out the lumber in game one, racking up a franchise record 27 hits in the victory, surpassing the previous Loggers record of 24 hits set back in 2007. After a one-two-three top of the first inning, the Loggers put up 11 runs in the bottom half as they sent 17 men to the plate. Every member of the starting lineup reached base at least once in the first inning, with 10 of the 11 runs coming after two outs were recorded. The first inning onslaught was highlighted by a two-RBI double from Harrison Freed (Butler), a two-RBI single from Braiden Ward (Washington), and three RBI in the inning from Austin Murr (DMACC).
Thunder Bay would score once in the top of the second, but the Loggers answered back with two runs of their own on RBI hits from Freed and Korey Lee (Cal). The Border Cats scored three in the third frame on a pair of doubles before a solo home run to the opposite field from Armani Smith (UC-Santa Barbara) in the home half made it 14-4 Loggers.
La Crosse added four more runs in each of the next two frames, extending its lead to 22-4 after five innings. Freed’s base hit to left field in the sixth frame was the Loggers’ 25th of the day, setting a new single-game franchise record. Four Loggers collected four-hit games in Wednesday’s opener led by Mike Rothenberg (Duke) who reached base in all seven plate appearances going 4-for-4 with a home run, two walks and a hit by pitch. Armani Smith went 4-for-6 with the solo HR, three RBI and three runs scored while Korey Lee (Cal) and Freed each collected four hits of their own.
Thunder Bay pushed across five runs in the final two innings, making the final score 22-9 in game one of the twin-bill. Loggers starting pitcher Ryan Boelk (Viterbo) earned the victory in his first appearance for La Crosse, allowing four runs on six hits while striking out four over 5.0 complete innings.
Wednesday night’s game was an entirely different ballgame, but the Loggers completed the sweep with a 2-0 victory in front of 2,519 fans at the Lumberyard. A weather delay prior to first pitch pushed the start time back to 8:40, but that did not affect Loggers starting pitcher Ryan Anderson (Nevada) as he turned in 7.0 shutout innings to improve to 3-0 on the season. Anderson was masterful in the night cap, surrendering just three hits while striking out eight as his fastball reached 95 mph. The 6-foot-6 left-hander, who posts a 1.33 ERA on the season, will join teammates Braiden Ward, Korey Lee, Mike Rothenberg, and Donta Williams (Arizona) in the Major League Dreams Showcase in Madison on August 7th.
A bases loaded walk in the first inning from Grant Judkins (Iowa) would end up being the difference in game two, with a towering solo home run from Korey Lee in the sixth giving the Loggers an insurance run. Trent Sidwell (Illinois-Springfield) picked up the save in his first appearance of the season as the sidewinder slammed the door shut in the final 2.0 innings. Loggers pitching retired the final 19 batters of the game to improve to 18-9 in the second half, just a half-game back of a three way tie for first place between Willmar, Duluth, and Mankato.
The Loggers head to Waterloo for a two-game set on Thursday and Friday before returning home to face the Willmar Stingers. Pregame coverage begins at 6:30 PM Thursday night on the Loggers Radio Network as La Crosse fights for a playoff bid.