Rox Survive Late Surge in Eau Claire, Sweep the Express

Despite a feverish 8th inning rally, the Rox were able to hold off the Express to get the win Friday night in Eau Claire, 5-4. For the second night in a row, the Rox got a solid performance out of their starting pitcher as Tim Faix (W, 2-2) allowed one run on four hits in five innings.  Offensively, the Rox enjoyed multi-hit nights from Mitchell Kranson and Eric Loxtercamp, each who finished the night with a pair of hits.

St Cloud (12-10, 31-26) had a 5-1 lead going into the bottom of the 8th before the Express scored three times, and had the tying and go-ahead runs in scoring position with two outs. Ben Lumsden (S, 2) was brought in to face Peter Van Gansen, and struck out the Eau Claire batter to end the rally. Lumsden would strike out a pair in the 9th to get the save.

The Rox scored their first runs in the 3rd inning on a wild pitch by Peter Hendron (L, 2-1) and a ground out by Eric Loxtercamp. With one out, Kade Scivicque singled and Kranson doubled behind him to put runners on second and third with one out. With Loxtercamp batting, Hendron threw a pitch to the screen to score Scivicque and move Kranson to third, who would score after the ground ball to second base.

They’d add another in the 6th inning on an RBI double by Clay Ardeeser, who was able to stretch his hit streak to 11 games. Loxtercamp reached earlier in the inning to extend his on-base streak to 20 games.

Eau Claire (12-10, 28-27) would get one back in the bottom of the 6th on a double play with the bases loaded and none out, a jam that would see Faix leave the game, but Dalton Sawyer would get out of with just the one run scoring.

The lead would grow for the Rox in the 7th and 8th innings with a run in each, stretching the margin to four before the big Express rally in the bottom of the 8th.

The win, coupled with losses by Willmar, Mankato, and Waterloo, pull the Rox a game closer to the pack, as the MoonDogs and Bucks are now just a half game ahead of St. Cloud, with the Stingers now just a game and a half away.

After the sweep, the Rox return home for a two-game series with the Duluth Huskies beginning with a game tomorrow at 6:05 pm. All-Star Reese Gregory will throw for the hometown Rox, Austin Christensen will pitch for Duluth. It’ll be Halloween in July presented by Party City, with candy bags being handed out to the first  400 kids in attendance for a post-game candy drop.