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Loggers hold on to top Express 5-3

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. — Coming off a three-day break for the All Star Game, the La Crosse Loggers got the insurance runs it needed late and held on in the ninth for a 5-3 win over the Eau Claire Express in front of 1,433 fans at Carson Park on Thursday night.

The University of Arizona duo of Tony Bullard and Ryan Holgate got the scoring started for La Crosse (25-24, 8-5) in the fourth inning. Bullard tripled and then came around to score on a wild pitch, and then Holgate hit his ninth home run of the season to give the Loggers an early 2-0 lead on the Express (27-22, 8-5). The Express got one back in the bottom of the fifth inning against starting pitcher Tyler Shingledecker (Penn State),  but that would be the only damage against Shingledecker, who earned the win to improve his record to 3-3.

The Loggers got the bats rolling again in the seventh inning, as Cole Elvis (California) and Jack Filby (UCLA) singled to reach base, and then came around to score on RBI base hits by Cody Jefferis (San Diego) and JT Schwartz (UCLA) to give La Crosse a 5-1 cushion.

Steve Bowley (Shepherd) and Matt Richey (Bradley) combined to throw three scoreless innings in relief for the Loggers. Jared Freilich (Penn State) came on to help La Crosse get out of a bases-loaded jam in the ninth inning to earn his league-leading 11th save of the season. Bullard and Holgate each finished with two hits for the Loggers offense.

The Loggers will play the Express again tonight, this time in a 7:05 pm first pitch at Copeland Park. La Crosse sits in a tie for second place with Eau Claire in the second-half standings for the Great Plains East division, trailing the Duluth Huskies (9-4) by one game. Tonight’s game is also the final matchup between the Loggers and Express in the 2019 season, with La Crosse holding a 6-5 edge in the season series.

Box Score

La Crosse -