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Strong Pitching Highlights Second Season Opener

By Lance Jones

Both bullpens did not allow any runs and the starters were on the mark as the St. Cloud Rox defeated the Thunder Bay Border Cats 3-1 on Wednesday night. The game marked the start of the Northwoods League Second Half as 18 teams yet to make the playoffs including the Rox and Cats were looking forward to fresh starts. There was not much between the teams as the Rox out hit the Cats 7-5. Surprisingly the Cats four errors on the night did not come back to haunt them.

Both Catchers got into the home run column early. Austin Eggleston making his first start of the year for the Border Cats, although he is a starter at Friends University where he plays his spring ball, looked solid. Brett Bonar pumped a solo home run in the second inning.

Eggleston would be backed by his battery mate as Papí Hernandez (Nova Southeastern) slugged his first homer into the trees to tie it in the bottom half.

A two-out rally by the Rox in the top of the third ultimately gave them the lead. Eggleston issued one of his two walks to Gus Steiger (South Dakota State). Jordan Barth (Augustana) would pick up a hit in his 17th straight game, a double that counted Steiger. Landon Stephens (Miami-Ohio) followed with an RBI-single to round out the scoring.

Rox Starting Pitcher Carter Bosch (Georgetown) matched his season high with eight strikeouts over six innings of solid ball. He walked one and allowed three hits throwing a supremely efficient 75 pitches. He now has a decision in each of his first six starts going to 4-2 with the win.

Eggleston who by far looked his best and most comfortable on the mound the whole season was businesslike with his 75 pitches over five innings. He struck out five over five innings to go along with two walks and six hits on three runs allowed.

The Rox Kevin Davis (USC-Upstate) shut down the Cats seventh. He was followed by Pedro Garcia (Georgia Gwinnett) who allowed two hits, walking one and striking down one for his third save of the season.

Lucas Reid (Nova Southeastern) pitched a vital three innings to keep the game close for Thunder Bay. He allowed just one hit and walked two to go with a strikeout. Ryan Windham (Creighton) ran into some self-created trouble with a couple walks in the ninth and one error but got out unscathed, picking up a punch out.

A scary moment in the eighth as one of Garcia’s fastballs, which can cook up to 95 mph hit Nick Seamons (Palomar College) in the earhole of his helmet. Garcia clearly did not feel good at all about it. He was pulled from the game for what looked more like precautionary reasons as he was able to walk off on his own.

Barth and Stephens finished with two hits and one RBI each for the Rox. Thunder Bay’s Jake Engel (Dixie State) himself had a two-for-four night.

The last game of this six game home stand will start at 7:05pm at Port Arthur Stadium. The Border Cats are looking for their first win against St. Cloud this season. Eggleston’s Friends University teammate Alex Dafoe (5.27 ERA) carries his 1-2 record into his 7th start of the season. The Rox will counter with seven foot lefty Trevor Koenig (3-1 2.10 ERA). It is Thirsty Thursday with $5 tallboys from Sleeping Giant Brewery.