Thunder Bay, ON – The St. Cloud Rox were victorious for the second consecutive day Wednesday afternoon, using three runs in the seventh inning to break the tie with Thunder Bay and defeat the Border Cats 7-4. The Rox are now 2-0 in their early 2014 campaign as first baseman Clay Ardeeser continued his early-season dominance with his second successive game with two doubles.
The teams were held scoreless early as Rox starting pitcher Josh Taylor and Thunder Bay starter Yuji Suzuki met head-on in a pitchers duel with each going five innings as Taylor allowed one run and struck out five while Suzuki let in two runs of his own. The Rox were the first to attack in the fourth inning as Kyle Thornell’s sacrifice fly scored Ardeeser who doubled earlier in the inning. The Border Cats answered back with a run of their own in the bottom of the fourth when Tyler Patterson doubled with two outs to bring in a run and tie the game at one.
The Rox tacked on another in the fifth as Suzuki walked Ardeeser with the bases loaded to score Danny Baer, and another two in the sixth off a dropped fly ball with two outs that brought in Thornell and Harrison Wenson to give the Rox a 4-1 lead. Thunder Bay answered with three more in the top of the sixth to tie the game once again before Rox reliever Reese Gregory stopped the bleeding for St. Cloud, entering the inning with the bases loaded and nobody out before walking a batter and allowing a run off a fielders choice to end the inning tied at four-apiece.
The Rox were able to gain the lead back in the top of the seventh inning as Garrett McMullen was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded to score Liam Bedford and give the Rox the lead. Two batters later, Gregory walked to score Will Craig, and Thornell scored the final run of the game off a single from Baer with two outs. After that Gregory was lights out for the Rox, going three innings and allowing no runs, no hits and just one walk while striking out three to pick up the win (1-0) in his relief effort.
Kevin Burgee came on to close the door in the ninth for the Rox, allowing one hit and registering his second save in as many tries to give the Rox their second victory. Ardeeser finished the game 2-for-3 for the Rox, hitting two doubles to bring his season total to four while also recording an RBI (4). Baer also contributed a two-hit effort the Rox, tallying a double and an RBI for St. Cloud.
The Rox will now head to Willmar tomorrow night for a north division showdown slated to begin at 7:05 p.m., before heading back to St. Cloud on Friday, May 30th for the 2014 home opener with the Stingers at 7:05 p.m. at Joe Faber Field, presented by Coborn’s. The game will feature former Minnesota Twins legend and two-time World Series champion Gene Larkin throwing out the ceremonial first pitch and signing autographs throughout the game, followed a huge post-game fireworks display presented by Coborn’s.
The St. Cloud Rox are a member of the finest developmental league for elite college baseball players, the Northwoods League. Playing its 21st season of summer collegiate baseball, the Northwoods League is the largest summer collegiate baseball league in the world with 18 teams, drawing significantly more fans, in a friendly ballpark experience, than any league of its kind. A valuable training ground for coaches, umpires and front office staff, more than 119 Northwoods League players have advanced to Major League Baseball, including Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer (DET) and MLB All-Stars Chris Sale (CWS), Jordan Zimmermann (WAS), Curtis Granderson (NYM), Allen Craig (STL) and Ben Zobrist (TB). All league games are viewable live via the Northwoods League YouTube channel. For more information, visit www.stcloudrox.com.