Carson Park in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. (Photo courtesy of ballparkreviews.com)
Jack Zoellner's two-RBI double in the bottom of the 7th held up as the difference for the Eau Claire Express (25-21, 9-4), notching them the victory 5-3 over the Thunder Bay Border Cats (16-31, 2-10) in action at Carson Park. Thunder Bay had tied the game in the top half of the inning and left the tying run in scoring position in the 7th and 8th.
Zoellner was joined by everyone in the Express batting order collecting a hit in the game. Drew Turbin and Jeff Hendrix were both 2-5 with a steal, while Turbin knocked in an RBI and Hendrix collected a double. Brady Burzynski was 2-3 with a walk, a double and a run scored along with a steal.
The Border Cats were paced by Christian Correa (Nicholls State) who was 3-5 in the cleanup spot with a double and an RBI. Cory Kay (Missouri State) and Ty Blankmeyer (St. John's) also had multi-hit games; Kay collected his 7th RBI while Blankmeyer scored two runs and stole a base.
Orlando Meza (2-1) took the win for the Express out of the bullpen going 1 1/3 innings pitched allowing two runs on four hits. Starter Connor Rusch worked 5 2/3 innings in a quality outing allowing a run on three walks and three strikeouts.
Gunnar Kay (Dallas Baptist) made a solid start for the Border Cats but left without a decision. Kay went four innings giving up seven hits and one walk that led to two runs while striking out three. Tyler McKee made his first appearance and allowed one run on one hit with a walk and two strikeouts through two innings on the hill. Austin Griffie (Harford CC) took the loss (0-2) giving up the two runs in the 7th on four hits and a strikeout working 2/3 of an inning.
Eau Claire led 3-1 going into the 7th. The Border Cats used aggressive base running to get back in the game. With two on and none out, Blankmeyer and Jordan Serena (Columbia University) stole 3rd and 2nd, respectively on a double steal. Kay then stepped up and singled to plate Blankmeyer. Robb Paller (Columbia University) would reach on an error. Correa would hit a ground rule double to score Serena and put himself and Robb Paller (Columbia University) into scoring position. But they would be stranded to end the inning.
In the 8th, two leadoff walks and a wild pitch would give the Border Cats another golden opportunity. The next three hitters would not be able to do anything. And in the 9th Eric Gleese would strikeout the side with a walk for his 5th save, sealing the deal for the Express.
The Border Cats look to leave Wisconsin with a split of the series. First pitch is at 7:35pm EDT. Zack Speer (Trinity University) takes to the hill for the Border Cats in search of an elusive first win (0-3, 4.78). CJ Eldred makes his 8th start for the Express (2-2, 3.49).