Mankato, Minn. – An early 5-0 deficit was too much for the MoonDogs to overcome, as Eau Claire jumped out to the five run lead after two, and held on for a 6-3 win Friday evening at Franklin Rogers Park.
Leadoff man Robbie Knight (Creighton) was the catalyst all night for the Express (23-15, 2-6), finishing 2-3 with two runs and two RBI. He also clubbed a double and a home run, his second of the year, and also added two walks.
The Dogs out-hit the Express 10-8 and were led by KC Serna (Oregon) and Kyle Knudson (Minnesota) who had three hits apiece. Jimmy Patterson (Arizona State) added his team-leading fourth home run and Cody Fick (Evansville) also had an RBI.
Zach Whitman (Georgia Southwestern) started on the hill for the Dogs and was tagged for four runs in the first. Jason Ganek (Illinois-Chicago) brought home the first run with an RBI single which was followed by a first-and-third double steal that scored Nolan Fadness (UW-Oshkosh) for a 2-0 lead.
Brooks Pinckard (Baylor) brought home the third Express run with a single and the fourth came around on an error by Taylor Black (Kentucky) on a soft popup to shallow right.
Whitman (3-3) lasted just two and two-thirds innings, allowing five runs on four hits while walking three for the MoonDogs (26-14, 3-4).
After Knight’s solo shot in the second, the Express bats remained silent until he came up big again. His line-drive double to the right center gap after the Dogs cut the lead to two gave his squad a three-run lead, stealing the momentum back from the MoonDogs.
Tyler Bremer (UC-Davis) earned the win (1-0) for Eau Claire, throwing six innings and striking out five. Pinckard came in from first base in the ninth to record his first save of the year.
The two squads will wrap up their season series tomorrow at Franklin Rogers Park. First pitch from the Frank will be at 7:05 p.m.