Eighth Inning Surge Gives Rox Win
St. Cloud, Minn. – A late offensive burst gave the St. Cloud Rox (9-4, 33-15) a 4-1 victory over the Eau Claire Express (7-7, 32-18) on Friday at the Rock Pile. It was the third win over the Express in the past two days for the Rox, as they won both legs of a double-header on Thursday night.
The game was neck and neck through the first four innings, with both teams trading zeros on the scoreboard. Eau Claire finally broke the tie by plating a run in the top of the fifth to take a 1-0 lead.
Starter Shelby Lackey (Pacific) had a nice outing for the Rox, lasting six innings allowing just one run. He only gave up five hits and struck out three batters. Lackey has lasted at least five innings in all of his starts for St. Cloud this season, and now has four starts in which he has allowed one run or less.
The Rox tied the game in the seventh. Brandon Benson (Georgia College and State University) led off the inning with a double, and was followed by a walk from Brendan Illies (North Carolina). Bhret Bewley (University of San Diego) was hit by a pitch, loading the bases and allowing Mason Mamarella (Kent State) to drive in the first Rox run.
The eighth inning is where St. Cloud would do the majority of its damage. Luke Ringhofer (South Dakota State) started the inning by drawing his 42nd walk in 42 games this season. After an error on a bunt attempt by Michael Strem (Boston College), Webb Bobo (Southeastern Louisiana) was also able to draw a walk to load the bases. Benson then followed with a walk of his own, giving the Rox a 2-1 lead. Illies then hit a ball that drew a throwing error, allowing two more runs to come home.
Chris Martin (Kent State) came on in the seventh and worked 2.0 scoreless innings of relief to earn the win. It was the fourth win for Martin in his last six appearances, all of which came in relief. Collin Strall (LSU) came on in the ninth inning and finished the game, earning his team-leading ninth save of the year.
The victory by the Rox gives them the most wins of any team in the Northwoods League this year. The win also kept them in the lead for the second half North Division standings, and increased their lead on the overall North Division standings.
The Rox will return to Joe Faber Field on Saturday at 6:05 p.m. to take on the Duluth Huskies. It will be Reese Gregory Bobblehead giveaway night presented by Capital One. The first 400 fans will receive a token to be redeemed during the game for a bobblehead of former Rox All-Star Reese Gregory.
Tonight’s St. Cloud Times Player of the Game was Brandon Benson for his effort at the plate. For more coverage of the Rox during the 2016 season visit www.sctimes.com.
For more stats and information about the game, here is the boxscore.
Single game tickets can be purchased 24 hours a day at www.stcloudrox.com, by calling (320) 240-9798 or by visiting the Rox ticket office located at the Municipal Athletic Complex.
The St. Cloud Rox are a member of the finest developmental league for elite college baseball players, the Northwoods League. Playing its 23rd season of summer collegiate baseball, the Northwoods League is the largest organized 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 150 Northwoods League players have advanced to Major League Baseball, including Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer (WAS) and MLB All-Stars Chris Sale (CWS), Jordan Zimmermann (DET), Curtis Granderson (NYM), Lucas Duda (NYM) and Ben Zobrist (CHC). All league games are viewable live via the Northwoods League portal. For more information, visit www.stcloudrox.com or download the new Northwoods League Mobile App on the Apple App Store and on Google Play.