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Published On: July 27th, 2019

By Lance Jones

The pitching staffs of the Thunder Bay Border Cats and Duluth Huskies combined for 19 walks making offensive chances plentiful. However, five errors from the Huskies was the difference in a Border Cats 7-3 win on Friday night. Thunder Bay picked up just their second win in ten tries against Duluth.

Austin Eggleston (1-3) earned redemption after his last start lasted just two innings against these very Huskies. This time out, he fought of any burdens and his scrappy effort picked up his first win of the season. Jordan Jackson (Nevada-Reno) also had to fight through some walks, but was masterful to back Eggleston’s start with a long save. The save was his first of the year and sees Thunder Bay winners of three of their last four.

Jordan Larson (Northern Illinois) continued to showcase his hot hitting ways to start the second inning rally. Larson who is hitting a team best .375 over the last ten games put a shot past the shortstop to get on. Husky Starting Pitcher Schuyler Hill (Vanguard) threw one away trying to pick off Larson. A second error allowed Jakob Newton (Florida Tech) aboard. Joe Jimenez (Chapman University-CA) sacrificed himself to move both runners into scoring position. Ryne Edmondson (Houston Baptist) walked and the bases were loaded. Hill then walked JJ Rollon (Pima CC-AZ) and Larson counted.

The Huskies knotted it up in the home half. Aaron Greenfield (Cal. State-Dominguez Hills) led off with a textbook single up the middle. A pass ball seen Greenfield extend himself to second. Greenfield then went pilfered third. Matt Hogan (Vanderbilt) legged out the first run as he beat the relay throw of a double play ball to allow his teammate to score.

Newton extended his On-Base Streak to 28 games with a walk to start the fourth. Jimenez singled into left and Hogan went charging hard and ball bounced up off his abdomen and allowed Newton and Jimenez an extra base on the third error from the Huskies. With the defense pulled in trying to prevent a run, Karsten Vasquez (College of San Mateo-CA) cracked a hard shot off of Hill’s glove which was enough for Newton to take home and the Border Cats had another one run lead.

Preston Hartsell (USC) made sure the lead was short lived. He doubled into left with one out. After a hit by pitch and a further single from Hogan loaded the bases, Eggleston was in hot water. Channy Ortiz (Yakupai College) swatted one of his two hits, through the left side of the infield to tie it. Then Eggleston got the tailor made double play he was looking for to get out of trouble.

Thunder Bay, aided by miscues from Duluth’s defense would make Eggleston a winner in the fifth. Nate Soriano walked on a high fastball. A wild pitch, that somehow avoided Conor Allard (Nevada-Reno) advanced Soriano. Then Allard’s foul out to the first base side seen Soriano over to third on a tight play at the bag. Larson wrestled through nine pitches to walk. Yet another error scored Soriano on Newton’s ball in play.

Eggleston worked out of two walks in the home half to hold the lead. Soriano was a big reason though. Soriano donned the Superman cape to rob Hartsell of a hit and the Huskies of a tie game.

Hill’s night was done. He took a team loss for the Huskies dropping to 1-1, seeing a myriad of errors behind him and allowing three unearned runs on three hits with five walks and two strikeouts.

The Border Cats would take advantage of yet more walks in the sixth. Darren Jansen (Fresno City College) came in and issued free passes to Edmondson and Vasquez. Duluth Manager Marcus Pointer then turned to Travis Booth (California Baptist). Rollon exercised seven pitches out of Booth and put a hot potato single winged back at the pitcher which was always going to be tough to deal with. With red shirts all over the basepaths, Booth let loose a wild pitch to score Edmondson. Anthony Galati’s (Radford University-VA) grounder to first (which he almost beat out on a dive) drove in Vasquez to push the lead to 5-2.

Eggleston reached 100 pitches in the sixth, signaling the end of his night. He earned redemption for his last start at the Wade, showing great battle the whole night and good spirit. The Friends University (KS) starter threw 5 2/3 walking five and allowing eight hits but limiting the Huskies to two runs on five strikeouts.

Jackson would surrender a run in the seventh. Kyle Jacobsen (Hillsborough CC) took the first pitch of the inning and whacked it back up the middle for a single. Jackson walked two in a row after the single to get into a diabolical situation with nobody out. Jackson held strong striking out Greenfield. He got a key putout at home from Larson who made a great play throwing a dart home for a force out. Four straight pitches walked home a run. Then Jackson struck out Hogan to end the threat. 5-3 was as close as Duluth got.

In the eighth, the Cats offense would seal the win. Edmondson nailed a hit into deep centre that turned into his first triple of the season. Vasquez singled home Edmondson. Rollon walked, Soriano reached on yet another error. Galati got green lighted to first to score Vasquez to round out the scoring. With the walk Galati picked up his second RBI of the night and 15th of the season.

The Border Cats (5-15) look to keep exorcising some demons as they turn to St. Cloud and the Great Plains West leading Rox (16-5) at Joe Faber. They have lost all four matchups so far this season.