LA CROSSE, WI – With the Rox taking advantage of a cooled-off Logger team on Thursday night, the Lumbermen were determined to get back on track on Friday.
The Rox took a three-run lead early. In the top of the second inning, two singles would put runners at first and third. Jose Gonzalez would hit a grounder to third base slow enough to score the run from third, but not slow enough for him to make it to base safely. In the top of the third inning, A hit-by-pitch would put a man on before Oscar Serratos Jr. stepped up to the plate and hit a home run to right-center field. All the Loggers could do was watch as the score leapt out to 3-0.
One run would come for the Loggers in the fourth. Matthew Piotrowski would hit an RBI single to make the score 3-1, but there was still work to be done. The Rox would come back in the top of the fifth with a run of their own on an RBI double. After five, the score sat at 4-1.
But the Loggers would respond in the bottom of the seventh. Two walks put runners on first and second before a fielder’s choice allowed the lead runner to head to third. A passed ball later in the inning would allow the runner from third to score, making the score 4-2. A dropped third strike, a few walks, and a hit-by-pitch later, the Loggers had evened the score at four each.
After plenty of pitching changes and tense moments in every at-bat, the Loggers and Rox remained tied entering the bottom of the eighth inning. Mac Born led-off the inning with a single to center field. A single and walk would later load the bases. Ben Zeigler-Namoa would then step to the plate and hit a line-drive single straight up the infield while every eye watched. Copeland Park erupted as the go-ahead run crossed the plate. The Loggers called on Tony Pluta to end the game once again. Pluta erased any Rox hopes with three strikeouts in the top of the ninth, securing the win for La Crosse, 5-4.
With the loss, the Rox fall to 16-10, one and a half game out of first place in the Great Plains West Division but still in good positioning to make the playoffs. With the win, the Loggers improve to 21-5, two and a half games in front of the Waterloo Bucks for first place in the Great Plains East Division. The Loggers will welcome the Minnesota Mud Puppies to Copeland Park for a two-game set on Saturday and Sunday.