The Wisconsin Woodchucks could not recover from Duluth’s late-inning rallies, as the Chucks fell to Duluth, 7-4, Friday night at Wade Stadium.
The Woodchucks (22-14, 40-30) appeared to be primed for a win, taking a 4-1 lead into the sixth inning behind a strong starting pitching performance from righty Matt Lambert. However, the Huskies (19-15, 27-43) recorded four straight one-out singles against Lambert and Chucks’ reliever Tim McElroy in cutting the lead to 4-3 after six.
In the seventh inning, McElroy stayed on and gave up a single to Huskies’ third baseman Dominic Brugnoni and a walk to shortstop Alex Greene leading off the frame. Righty Austin Orewiler relieved McElroy and immediately recorded a strikeout, but then surrendered an RBI single to Huskies’ second baseman Keach Ballard and a two-run double to left fielder Alex Michaels, giving the Huskies the lead. Duluth’s designated hitter Vinny Rodriguez, who had four hits and three RBIs on the night, capped the scoring with a single to left field, giving Duluth a 7-4 lead.
The Chucks could not counter offensively in the late innings against three Huskies’ relievers, as sidearmer Stephen Villines retired the final two Woodchucks’ hitters of the game, tallying his seventh save of the year for Duluth.
Lambert was solid for Wisconsin, going five and one third innings, giving up three runs on seven hits and striking out one. The loss went to McElroy, who fell to 2-3 on the year.
Offensively, multi-hit efforts from Chucks’ first baseman Brendon Hayden (3-for-5) and right fielder Connor Beck (4-for-5) led the charge.
The Woodchucks are back in action on Saturday night, as they take on the Thunder Bay Border Cats in the final regular season series of the year. First pitch from Port Arthur Stadium is scheduled for 6:05 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.