Bre’ Kimbell (Louisiana Tech) lifted two long-balls over the outfield wall, but couldn’t lift the Chinooks to a victory over the Wisconsin Rapids Rafters Friday night in a 7-5 loss.
“We were just talking about the number of free bases and free outs we gave them, whether it was errors, hit by pitch, wild pitch, plays that we could have made that we didn’t make. You total that up and that gives them their extra couple runs,” said Head Coach John Vodenlich.
The Rafters were all over the bases early as Josh Uhen (UWM) struggled to control his form on a wet mound. The first two batters walked before Pat Kelly was able to drive them in later in the inning with a single to right field.
In an early 2-0 hole, Kimbell took the first pitch for a long ride over the center field wall to cut the Rafters lead to 2-1.
The recently hot hitters for the Chinooks stayed hot again tonight as German Reyes (Winston Salem), who homered last night, hit a lead off triple to start the 4th inning. The next batter, Ty Young (Louisville), reached first and brought Reyes home on an infield error by Kelly who juggled the ball and couldn’t get a throw off. With the score tied 2-2, Kimbell launched his second bomb of the night over the left field wall to give the Chinooks a 2-run lead.
Uhen was chased in the 5th, but not before he hit Jordan Dreiling to start the inning and gave up back-to-back singles to left. Austin Neary and Kelly, who were key members of the Rafters’ offense last night, hit almost identical singles to left field to put the Rafters within 1-run. Vodenlich saw enough and went with Ryan Harris (Florida) who made his Chinooks debut after his Florida Gators were eliminated from the College World Series. Harris pitched to one batter who grounded into a 6-4-3 double play to end the inning.
The hot-hitting duo of Reyes and Kimbell once again produced a run in the 6th as Reyes led off the inning with a single to center before Kimbell drove him in with an RBI double to right field.
“It’s definitely not a one man show out here,” commented Kimbell of his multi-home run game. “I try to do what I can and help the team in any which way to win. My two home runs definitely put up some RBI’s for us and I was just trying to keep the team in the game and hopefully we had a chance to win.”
A Rafters rally came in the 7th when Brandon Downes hit a lead off single to left field. After stealing second and then third on a wild pitch, Downes was driven home by Kelly who hit a deep triple to right. A wild pitch by Harris brought Kelly home, which proved to be the winning run. Neary, who homered last night, did it again tonight to provide an insurance run for the Rafters.
The Chinooks rally attempt in the 9th was quickly shut down as Eric Aguilera (Illinois State) struck out, followed by Ryan Krill (Michigan State) and Scott Wilcox (Western Kentucky) both grounding out to the pitcher.
Harris, who came in with the score tied 4-4 took the loss in his very first game, while Kyle Wormington received the win for the Rafters.
The final game of the series will be played tomorrow at Kapco Park. Eric King (UWM) is scheduled to take the mound for the Chinooks with the first pitch at 3:05pm.