Woodchucks Stun Chinooks With Five-Run Ninth
MEQUON, Wis. – Down to their final out, the Wausau Woodchucks rallied to score five ninth inning runs and defeat the Lakeshore Chinooks 8-4 at Moonlight Graham Field Saturday night.
A game-tying triple by Zach Levenson (Miami) knocked in Brent Widder (Evansville) and tied the score at four with two outs in the top of the ninth. After a passed ball, Levenson slid home to score the game’s deciding run.
But the Chucks weren’t done. Ryan Sepede (BYU) and Chase Hug (Evansville) drew walks before Nik Levensteins (North Georgia) hammered a three-run homer to right field that served as the final dagger.
The homer was one of two on the day for the red-hot Woodchucks (25-22), who have hit seven homers in their last two contests. Brock Watkins (BYU) erased an early 1-0 deficit with an opposite field two-run blast in the top of the third – his third of the season.
Lakeshore (25-22) surged back in front, scoring three unearned runs in the bottom of the third inning. Using a pair of stolen bases and infield singles, they built a 4-2 lead.
But from that point on, the Woodchucks held the Chinooks to just two hits. Starter Ben Abernathy (UAB) worked six innings and allowed just one earned run. He struck out three and walked none in the two-way start while collecting a hit and a run at the plate.
Sepede drew a bases-loaded walk to cut the Woodchuck deficit in half in the top of the fifth. But Wausau missed opportunities to tie the score in each of the next three innings.
They left eight runners on in the win, and ran themselves out of a potential rally in the eighth on a failed double steal by Hagen Escoto (Lamar CC) and Camden Janik (Illinois), who doubled and walked respectively.
Nick Marshall (West Texas A&M) was the winning pitcher – retiring all six batters he faced in the seventh and eighth. Hug made a diving catch in left field, a key play which robbed Lakeshore of a leadoff extra-base hit in the eighth. Marshall is now 3-1 in his third season as a Woodchuck.
Carter Heninger (San Jose State) kept his perfect 0.00 ERA intact by working a scoreless ninth inning. The Woodchuck bullpen set down all nine batters they faced in the win.
The Woodchucks have now won eight of their last nine games and have started the second half 8-3. The Woodchucks remain a half-game behind the Wisconsin Rapids Rafters in the second-half standings – and are now tied with Lakeshore in the overall record standings.
The Chucks will take the field tomorrow at 1:35 p.m. against the Chinooks for their final game before a three-day All-Star Break. They’ll play four road games after that before returning home on Monday, July 25 against the Madison Mallards.