Rox Ride Big Inning to Fifth Straight Victory
Alexandria, MN – Starting pitcher Austin Caspersen allowed just one run in seven innings Monday night while the offense pounded out a six-run fourth inning as the St. Cloud Rox defeated the Alexandria Blue Anchors 9-1 at Knute Nelson Memorial Park. Caspersen (2-0) was strong for the second consecutive start, allowing one run on seven hits, while striking out three to pick up the victory for St. Cloud.
The Rox (11-3) brought 10 men to the plate in the fourth inning and at one point had seven straight batters reach safely to take a big lead on the Blue Anchors after four. Mitchell Kranson was the first to get on base in the inning for St. Cloud, smacking a one-out double to start the fourth. After Kyle Thornell walked against Blue Anchors starter Jason Zgardowski (0-2), Charles Galiano brought Kranson in to score with a single, which was followed by an RBI single from Eric Loxtercamp that brought Thornell across. Seth Heck was the third straight Rox batter to drive in a runner, bringing home Galiano with a double, and then Bradley Strong drove in both Loxtercamp and Heck with a single. The last run of the inning saw Strong score on a Chris Paul ground ball that resulted in a Craig Nennig throwing error for the Blue Anchors to give the Rox a 7-1 lead after four.
Alexandria (3-11) only scored once, but had the first two men reach base to begin their half of the first inning as it looked like they would cause Caspersen some trouble. But the Doane College pitcher was able to induce a 4-6-3 double play, and despite giving up an RBI double to Roman Collins, would get out of the inning with minimal damage. The Blue Anchors challenged Caspersen again in the second, but a nice defensive throw by Galiano to catch Aaron Gretz attempting to steal second, along with a pair of punch-outs helped Caspersen escape the inning unscathed. He then gave up just two hits in his final five innings of work, including retiring the Alexandria batters in order three separate times.
The Rox got their first run of the game in the top of the first on a Clay Ardeeser single, bringing Strong in to score. They also tallied runs in the fifth and sixth innings on a Loxtercamp ground out and a Kranson double, respectively. Eight of the nine Rox in the starting lineup collected hits in the win Monday, with Kranson leading the way going 4-for-5 with two singles, two doubles, scoring twice and driving in one. The final two innings were thrown by St. Cloud relievers Ben Lumsden and Trevor Jaunich, who each tossed one shutout inning to preserve the victory for the Rox.
The win for St. Cloud was their fifth straight and sixth in their last seven games. With the victory, the Rox are now 7-0 away from Joe Faber Field and continue to have the best record in the Northwoods League, staying one game ahead of Madison, Lakeshore and Willmar in the overall standings.
The game was the first of a five-game road trip for St. Cloud, and the beginning of 10 of their next 14 on the road. The Rox are back at it tomorrow night for the first of a two-game series against the Mankato MoonDogs (8-6) beginning at 7:05 p.m. After that the Rox will cross the border to take on Thunder Bay for two games before heading home for a weekend series with Kenosha on Saturday and Sunday. Saturday will be Baseball Bat Giveaway Night at Joe Faber Field, presented by the St. Cloud Hospital Stroke Center, as the first 300 kids 14-and-under will receive a Rox 28” wood baseball bat.
For a complete box score of tonight’s game, go to http://northwoods.bbstats.pointstreak.com/boxscore.html?gameid=210237
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