Woodchucks crack four homeruns, overpower Rafters, 12-7
Homeruns from Woodchucks’ catcher Zach Arnold, shortstop Ryan Howard and two from first baseman Brendon Hayden, including a grand slam, highlighted the Woodchucks’ offensive attack as they defeated the Rafters, 12-4, Thursday night at Witter Field
The evening did not get off to a great start for Wisconsin (2-0), as Howard’s throwing error from short in the first gave the Rafters (0-2) the early 1-0 lead.
However, Arnold’s two-run homerun in the fourth gave the Chucks their first hit, and lead, of the game against Rafters’ starting southpaw Jeff Gogue. After Arnold’s first homerun of the year, the Rafters quickly tied it 2-2 on a bloop RBI single from first baseman Cullen Gassaway in the bottom half of that frame.
The fifth inning was when the Chucks took the lead for good.
Designated hitter Jake Scudder and Howard led off the frame with back-to-back singles, before left fielder Nate Mondou loaded the bases by drawing a base on balls. That set the table for right fielder Kevin Connolly, who gave Wisconsin the lead right back with a two-run double to right field. A sac fly from second baseman Dylan Tice and a groundout from Arnold capped the scoring in the frame for Wisconsin, who then led 6-2.
Wisconsin Rapids cut the lead to 6-4 before the Woodchucks scored the next six unanswered. Howard led off the seventh with a solo homerun, also his first of the year, and Hayden’s first homerun of the night came with one away in the eighth.
With the Chucks leading 8-4 heading to the ninth inning, Tice and Arnold walked leading off the frame before center fielder Jake Jefferies became the final batter in the Chucks starting nine to reach base, reaching with a single to right. That set the stage for Hayden, who jumped all over Michael Hurwitz’s first pitch and drilled it over the right field wall for a grand slam, tallying his second homerun of the day and fourth of the year.
The Chucks withstood a late Rafter rally in the bottom of the ninth to hold on to the 12-7 victory.
Arnold, Scudder, Hayden and Howard each boasted multi-hit efforts for Wisconsin, while starting pitcher Parker Dunshee fired five strong innings and earned the victory, improving to 2-1 on the year.
The Woodchucks are back in action Friday night as they host La Crosse in the first of two at Athletic Park. First pitch from scheduled for 7:05 P.M.
The Wisconsin Woodchucks are a member of the finest developmental league for elite college baseball players, the Northwood’s League. Playing its 21st season of summer collegiate baseball, the Northwood’s 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 115 Northwood’s League players have advanced to Major League Baseball, including Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer (DET) and MLB All-Stars Chris Sale (CWS), Jordan Zimmermann (WAS), Curtis Granderson (NYM), Allen Craig (STL) and Ben Zobrist (TB). All league games are viewable live via the Northwood’s League YouTube channel. For more information, visit woodchucks.com