LA CROSSE, WI – The Loggers came into Sunday night’s contest with the most wins in the Northwoods League’s second half. They looked to add to their total with a win at home against the Eau Claire Express.
On the mound for the Loggers, making his first start, was Dan Merkel. The righty out of Wagner College was terrific, going eight innings with four hits, two runs, two walks, and six strikeouts. He set a great foundation for the Logger game to rest and allowed the offense to do what they do best.
The Loggers offense struck early. In the bottom of the first, Ben Zeigler-Namoa drove in Mic Paul with a single to right field before Troy LaNeve sent a no-doubter to deep right-center with two men on. LaNeve has been on fire as of late hitting five home runs in his last ten games. After one, the score was 4-0.
The Loggers would score three more in the third inning. Ethan Frey led off the inning with a solo shot that barely stayed fair in right field. Jackson Cobb then singled to bring another run in before Mic Paul hit an RBI ground out to make the score 7-0.
Scoring would be postponed until the seventh inning. Merkel was still in the game, but had thrown more than eighty pitches through seven innings. Nonetheless, he stayed on in the eighth. Two Express singles and a walk would load the bases with no outs. Before the inning was done, Marcus Cline and Camden Ross would both ground out with runners on third to bring the score to 7-2 in favor of La Crosse.
Logger reliever David Thurman came on to finish the game in the ninth. He allowed two hits and a sacrifice fly to bring in an unearned run but otherwise threw a respectable inning. The Loggers had won their third game in a row and taken the four-game series from the Express three games to one. With the loss, the Express fall to 7-13 in the second half standings while the Loggers improve to 15-3 with the win. They continue to stay hot as they search for a playoff berth.