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Rafters Seek To End First Half On Hot Streak

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Rafters Pitching Looks To Slow Down Express    

Wisconsin Rapids, Wis. – The Wisconsin Rapids Rafters (12-22) seem to be finding their groove as they enter today winners of three straight and will look to extend that streak against the Eau Claire Express (15-17) in today’s away and home doubleheader. The Rafters are coming off of an offensive explosion in a 12-6 victory over the Wisconsin Woodchucks where the Rafters recorded 14 hits as well. The Express is coming off a heartbreaking walk off loss at the hands of the St. Cloud Rox and are 4-6 over their past 10 games.

The first game of the doubleheader today is at Carson Park in Eau Claire at 12pm. Right after the game is done the Rafters and the Express will travel back to Witter Field and will play the second game of the double header at 7:05pm. The gates will open at 6:05pm as it is Bacon Appreciation Night here at Witter Field and there will be delicious bacon specials available all night.

In the first game of the doubleheader the Rafters will send out Jason Freeman (Texas A&M, 1-1) who is coming off of his longest outing of the season against Green Bay. In that start Freeman went seven strong innings as he gave up three runs on six hits while only walking two and striking out five. The probable starter for the Rafters in game number two is hard throwing right handed pitcher Zach Jackson (Arkansas, 2-1). Jackson threw out of the bullpen in his last outing, where he went two-thirds of an inning and struck out both La Crosse Loggers that he faced.

The Eau Claire Express pitching staff will have to deal with a Rafters lineup that is as hot as any in the Northwoods League. The move to bat Erik Payne (Virginia Tech) in the leadoff spot looks to be paying off as the offense has picked up and Payne has not skipped a beat. Payne is riding a six game hitting streak during which he is batting .407 with eight runs scored and four runs driven in. Newly acquired catcher Campbell Wear (UC Santa Barbara) has also impressed in his short time with the Rafters thus far. In his first six games Wear is batting .353 and has driven in a pair of runs while also scoring four.

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The Wisconsin Rapids Rafters are a member of the finest developmental league for elite college baseball players, the Northwoods League. Playing its 21st season of summer collegiate baseball, the Northwoods 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 Northwoods 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 Northwoods League YouTube channel.  For more information, visit www.raftersbaseball.com.