The Chinooks continued their offensive production and mound dominance in Monday’s 7-2 win over the Wisconsin Rapids Rafters. The win is the Chinooks third in-a-row and completes the two-game sweep of the Rafters.
Kapco Park experienced another “packed house” as over 1,500 fans gathered on the lakeshore. The Chinooks dominated the early innings in both the top and bottom halves. Jason Hoppe (Mankato State), making his fifth start, nauseated the Rafters’ batters with a tormenting off-speed pitch for the entire game. Hoppe, throwing his first complete game, retired the first nine batters he faced and gave up his first run of the game on a called-out-double in the fourth.
“I was throwing the fastball first pitch, trying to stay ahead, work ahead. Then I would use my change-up to get them out. That’s my ‘out pitch’, I’ve been using it all year,” commented Hoppe.
As Hoppe continued to shutout the Rafters, the Chinooks connected again and again on the Rafters’ pitchers. The Rafters started Cole Webb, who was unable to remain on the mound past the 4th inning after giving up five runs on six hits and four walks. Two relievers tried to hold the Chinooks’ offense down, but proved unable.
Lighting up the scoreboard in the 2nd inning, Connor Lynch (G.A. Tech) managed the first of two RBI’s on the night while reaching first on a fielder’s-choice that scored Ryan Krill (MSU) to give the Chinooks their first run. The Chinooks weren’t finished, two additional runs were added in the 2nd when Ryan Ussery (UAB) reached home on a wild-pitch and Brian Anderson (Arkansas) hit a sac-fly to centerfield to score Lynch.
The 3rd inning produced one run for the Chinooks as German Reyes (Winston Salem) smacked a line-drive down the right field line to score Krill from third for his second of three runs on the night.
Hoppe showed a slight dip in control in the 5th where, after allowing a double, he surrendered a two-run home run to Brandon Hohl, which cut the lead in half; 4-2.
“Both of those pitches were mistakes. I threw two pitches in a row that were belt high that they didn’t miss. These hitters are unreal and you have to go through every pitch of every at-bat and take it seriously. If you let up one pitch, they’re going to make you pay for it,” added Hoppe.
The Chinooks’ batters had the back of their starting pitcher as they regained the two previously surrendered runs in the 5th. After loading the bases for the third time in the game, Lynch’s sac-fly and Forrest Chadwick’s (U. Southern Maine) RBI single gave the Chinooks a 6-2 lead.
The final run of the game came in the 8th when Ty Kamps (UW Oshkosh) scored an unearned run on a wild pitch to Reyes to set the final score at 7-2.
Hoppe received the W in his stellar complete performance and Webb took the L as the Chinooks move to 12-10. Hoppe allowed three hits, gave up two runs, surrendered no walks, and struck out seven. The Chinooks hit the road for a two-game series with the Battle Creek Bombers before returning home for a duel with the Wisconsin Woodchucks on Thursday at 6:35pm.