By Lance Jones
The Thunder Bay Border Cats were swept away on their four game road trip as they dropped their trip finale 5-4 to the Eau Claire Express in 10 innings. Late inning struggles defined the road trip for the Border Cats. This time around Thunder Bay came back to tie the game in the eighth only to be on the wrong side of another close decision.
Phillip Sikes (Pima CC) spiked the express to an early lead with a sacrifice fly in the first inning.
The Cats would tie it up in the next half inning after Jake Engel (Dixie St.) mashed his first home run of the season. Engel would finish 3-for-4 on the night.
Jordan Larson’s (Northern Illinois) first RBI on a single would give Thunder Bay a brief 2-1 lead in the fourth.
Two Border Cats errors helped Eau Claire retake the lead as a pair of runs scored in the fifth to make it 3-2 Express.
The teams would exchange runs in the seventh before the Border Cats tied the game at 4-4 in the eighth. Andrew Shebloski’s (Saint Mary’s) sac-fly would plate Tyson Fisher (Dixie St.) who scored twice in the game.
The tie would be broken quickly into extra innings. Matt Botcher’s (Illinois-Chicago) first hit and second RBI of the night scored Troy Beilsmith (Evansville) in the 10th and gave the Express the two game sweep. Beilsmith and Spencer Myers (Notre Dame) accounted for half of the eight hits the Express had on the night. The Border Cats matched the Express eight hits.
Border Cats Starting Pitcher Alex Dafoe (Friends U.) would go five innings allowing three runs (one earned) on five hits with four strikeouts. The loss went to Aaron Kern (Minot St.) (0-1) who allowed one run on one hit in 1 1/13.
Express Reliever Jack Brown (Minnesota St.) (1-0) picked up the win after working three innings, coming in for Starter Matt Verdun (Lewis). Each pitcher recorded three strikeouts in the game.
The Border Cats are on the bus home, looking forward to some home cooking. They will host the La Crosse Loggers at Port Arthur Stadium on Tuesday night with first pitch set for 7:05pm. It is Hockey Night at the ball park! Wear your hockey jersey to the game and it is also Toonie Tuesday ($2 Kids Tickets, $2 Pizza Slices, $2 Pop).