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Comeback Falls Short Wednesday

The Eau Claire Express came into Tuesday scoreless in 29 innings of play against the Lakeshore Chinooks this season. They put a six spot on the board last night, and use the five run seventh-inning to put a dagger in the hearts of the visitors in a 9-6 victory Wednesday at Carson Park.

Lakeshore starter Tyler Thicke (UW-Milwaukee) danced out of trouble in the first two innings straining a pair of Express runners in both frames. Eau Claire got on the board first in the forth inning on a solo home run to left center from  Mike Porcaro to take a 1-0 lead.

The Chinooks answered back with a run in the fifth on a sacrifice fly from Cody Bobbitt (Wichita State) to tie the score at one.

Porcaro, who came into the game hitting just .176, delivered again in the fifth with an RBI single to put the Express back in front. They would add two more in the frame on an RBI double from Tim Wise to take a 4-1 lead.

Once again, Lakeshore got off the mat and tie the score. Mike Hollenbeck (Illinois State University) got the comeback started with an RBI double in the sixth to score Brant Valach (Eastern Illinois University). Hollenbeck stole third and came in to score on an RBI ground out by Sawyer Polen (Kent State University) to trim the lead to one.

The Chinooks tied it in the seventh on an RBI single from Harrison Bader (University of Florida)

The seesaw battle continued in the bottom half of the seventh. Eau Claire responded in a big way scoring four times before the first out of the inning was recorded off reliever Luke Lowry (Southern Mississippi). Mike Vinson (University of Florida) came on to finish the inning but not before Eau Claire added another to take a 9-4 lead.

Lakeshore did not go away quietly in the ninth. Karch Kowalczyk (Valparaiso University) let off the inning with a walk in a pinch hitting role. Bader followed suit to put two on with one down.  Forrest Chadwick (University of Southern Maine) hit a hard bouncer that the second baseman was unable to handle allowing pinch runner Mikel Mucha (Wichita State University) to come in and score. Brant Valach followed with an RBI single bringing the tying run to the plate with only one out. 

Eau Claire went to the bullpen and Carlos Chavez who got the powerful Mike Hollenbeck to ground into a game ending 1-6-3 double play.

Lakeshore has lost two consecutive games for the first time since June 9 and 10 versus Wisconsin Rapids and Madison. The Chinooks are in danger of dropping to a game and a half behind La Crosse for the first half southern division crown with just seven games remaining on the first half schedule. The two teams will begin a pseudo-winner take all two game series tomorrow from Copeland Park beginning at 7:05 p.m.