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Published On: March 2nd, 2016

Apr4 - Apr10 Recap(Pictured: C Joey Morgan, University of Washington. Photo provided courtesy of Washington Athletics)

The Rafters Team Report will be your weekly update on the Spring season's of your 2016 Wisconsin Rapids Rafters. Be sure to check back each week for a new update.

April 4 – April 10: File, Woodcock Continue Strong Sophomore Seasons

By: Cooper Perkins

The college baseball regular season has reached its midpoint and the weekly grind on the diamond has begun to take its toll as each 2016 Rafter continues to battle for success. Beginning in the west and traversing the country, future Rafters took the field once again in advance of their upcoming summer in Wisconsin Rapids.

For sophomore right-handed pitcher Dylan File, the past few weeks have marked a period of frustration as the 2015 PacWest Freshman of the Year has sought to regain his dominant early-season form. After an impressive stretch that saw File reel off four consecutive starts of seven innings or more, the Utah native was unable to pitch beyond the fifth in either of his two most recent outings. Taking to the field in San Diego as part of a four-game series with Point Loma, File rekindled his earlier success as he ripped through the lineup in route to a season-high eight innings of work and his fourth win of the year. After scattering just two runs across his eight frames, File lowered his ERA to 2.87 and now boasts 53 strikeouts to pair with his unblemished 4-0 record.

Across state lines in Arizona, a consortium of Rafter signees took the field as Grand Canyon played host to New Mexico State and the University of Washington visited Arizona State. Despite a wave of momentum following last weekend’s sweep of conference foe Cal State Bakersfield, the pre-season WAC favorite Lopes were unable to duplicate their success and were swept in a three-game home series by their guests from New Mexico. Future Rafter pitcher Jake Repavich took the mound for Grand Canyon in the second act of their weekend tilt and was unable to demonstrate the form that has characterized his season-long dominance. The southpaw was tagged for six hits and a pair of earned runs in 2.1 innings, by far his shortest outing of the campaign. The sophomore did not factor into the decision as his record stood pat at 3-1, while his ERA jumped to 2.68 in 47 innings. Repavich’s teammate, returning Rafter Ethan Evanko, did not see any action against the Aggies.

Just across the city in Phoenix, the University of Washington met traditional national powerhouse Arizona State for a three-game set. In the process of bookending the weekend with wins, the Huskies won the series from the Sun Devils and moved their season record to 16-11. The first two chapters of the weekend proved to be quiet for Rafter catcher Joey Morgan as he reached base on walks once in each contest before exploding for a two-RBI day on Sunday, helping his squad to a series-clinching victory. Following the weekend, Morgan now boasts a .316 batting average in addition to a pair of home runs and 13 runs batted in across 27 games played.

Following a difficult week in which they dropped three games to eleventh-ranked Tabor College, NAIA Sterling College rebounded to tally a dominant 6-0 week. Returning Rafter right-handed pitcher John Jaeger functioned as a spectator throughout the week as the California native did not see game action. Through Sterling’s first 43 games, Jaeger owns a 5-1 record and a 3.71 ERA in addition to 34 punch outs compared to just six walks in 34 innings of work.

To the south, the Texas A&M Corpus Christi Islanders endured a five-game slate throughout the week, remaining within the borders of their home state. Following a dominant shutout victory over the Texas Longhorns in Austin on Tuesday night, Corpus Christi slogged through a four-game losing streak to close the week. Looking to rebound from a frustrating showing in the week prior, right-handed pitcher Chris Cooper turned in a dazzling performance on Wednesday in the Islanders’ loss to Texas State. The redshirt sophomore held the Bobcats scoreless over three innings of work and picked up a strikeout out of the bullpen. The versatile Cooper lowered his ERA to 4.15 and held his record steady at 1-1 with a save and 19 strikeouts.

In the midst of a stellar debut campaign with UW-Milwaukee, returning Rafter hurler Jay Peters was back in action alongside his Panther teammates as they squared off with the University of Iowa and Wright State. With weather a demon throughout the week, the Panthers were unfortunate to have a pair of games postponed and another cancelled. When the weekend finally came to a close, the boys from Milwaukee finished their slate 1-3 and dropped to 12-14 for the year. Peters saw action on only one occasion as he worked out of the bullpen in Wednesday’s loss to Iowa and tossed a scoreless inning with one strikeout. The outing lowered Peters’s ERA to a clean 3.00 and lifted him to 32 strikeouts in 42 innings.

In the process of persevering through what has developed into a trying season, the SIU-Edwardsville Cougars welcomed a lineup of four games this past week but came away just 1-3. Second-year Rafter outfielder Dustin Woodcock continued his strong sophomore season as he picked up hits in three of the four games and highlighted the weekend by reaching base four times on Friday. In the aforementioned Friday outing, Woodcock came away two-for-three with a double, a pair of runs scored, two runs batted in, and two walks. In his quest to offer an encore to his freshman All-American season, Woodcock currently flaunts a .314 batting average and a career-high 10 doubles paired with two home runs and 13 RBI.

A short way to the east in Indiana, Purdue looked to shake off a nine-game losing streak with a quartet of match ups, including a road game at Indiana State and a three-game road tilt with Indiana. Much to the discontent of the Boilermakers, a clean sweep on the week ran their losing streak to 13 games and left them with a 4-24 overall record. A bright spot for Purdue, however, emerged in the form of freshman Jacson McGowan, who returned to the lineup to earn a pair of starts and drive in two runs. Through 20 starts, the first-year infielder is hitting at a .217 clip and has pushed across seven runs.

While Purdue struggled to bust out of its prolonged funk, fellow Indiana-based Valparaiso grappled with a different enemy as the weather proved to be the Crusaders’ greatest obstacle in collecting wins. Despite Valpo’s readiness for their four-game slate, they were able to play only once as they topped Illinois State 8-6 at home on Tuesday. In the win, neither future Rafter on the Crusaders’ roster saw time with catcher Scott Kapers and pitcher Montana Quigley each looking on from the dugout.

Beginning their week in Indiana before returning home for a three-game series, the Xavier Musketeers finished the stint 1-3 with a single loss to Ball State and a pair of losses to Morehead State. The only action of the week for pitchers Damien Richard and Garrett Schilling came in the midst of a pitcher’s duel, Sunday’s narrow 3-2 loss. Richard was tabbed to start for the Musketeers and was saddled with the loss after logging 3.2 innings on the hill in which he surrendered three runs and struck out one. Following the subsequent 3.2 innings, fellow future Rafter Garrett Schilling toed the rubber to round out the final 1.2 innings of the afternoon and did not surrender a hit. The loss leveled Richard’s season record at 2-2 as his ERA remains a comfortable 3.94 coupled with 22 strikeouts. Schilling’s strong performance was merely the latest in a string of excellent showings that have lowered his ERA all the way to a minuscule 1.50 as he now owns 16 strikeouts compared to just four free passes in 18 innings.

Before they hit the road for a three-game series against Tennessee-Martin that concluded with Eastern Kentucky swiping two-of-three, the Colonels played host to Ohio for a Tuesday night affair and fell to the Bobcats 10-4. First baseman Ben Fisher enjoyed a fruitful week as he recorded hits in three of the Colonels’ four games, also driving in three runs. The week reached its high point for Fisher on Saturday when he reached base four times, including three hits and a walk, while also scoring once and driving in a run. Fisher’s batting average jumped to .276 following his strong week as he now also owns four home runs and 20 RBI in 32 starts. Fisher’s current and future teammate Hunter Dunn also offered a nice showing as he picked up his second win of the season in Sunday’s finale by pitching 5.1 innings and striking out seven while limiting Tennessee-Martin to just one run. Dunn’s record now rests at 2-3 as he also lowered his ERA to 5.84 and lifted his punch out total to 28.

Further to the south, Alabama State entered the week riding the wave of a three-game winning streak and did not surrender their momentum as the Hornets swept their four-game schedule. Beginning with Tuesday’s win over South Alabama and continuing into their weekend series with Jackson State, the Hornets’ offense paced the team, averaging just under 12 runs per game over the quartet of contests. Rafter signee Joseph Estrada, who has filled a consistent role off the bench, did not see action in the four games, leaving his average at .231 in 19 appearances.

For Georgia College and recently announced Rafter signees Logan Mattix and Cameron Busby, they eyed an opportunity to unseat the fourteenth-ranked team in Division II as conference-foe Lander paid them a visit. Despite only managing a split of their four games last week, Mattix produced to the tune of a double, a home run, and a trio of runs batted in. The home run was Mattix’s ninth of the season as he currently is batting .329 with 32 RBI and 42 runs scored. For Busby, the week proved to be a tale of two different outings as the right-hander fired three dominant innings of one-hit, shutout ball in Saturday’s win before being whacked for five runs in 1.1 innings on Sunday. In 19 appearances out of the bullpen, Busby is 6-2 with a save, a 3.52 ERA, and 39 strikeouts across 53.2 innings of labor.

Rounding out the week’s action down south, Bethune-Cookman posted a productive week as they finished 3-1, including a weekend sweep of Savannah State. Shortstop Demetrius Sims personified his squad’s success as he straightened his course by recording at least one hit in all four games, totaling five hits, a run scored, and a run batted in over the four games. With 32 starts under his belt, Sims has been able to rake the ball at a .235 clip while also stealing successfully six times, scoring 19 runs, and pushing across nine RBI.

In the northeast, the week proved to be far more difficult than anticipated for the University of Virginia as they managed to take just one game of three from Boston College, following a Wednesday route of George Washington at home. Both future Rafters saw action in the Cavaliers’ blowout of George Washington with Doak Dozier’s drawing a pair of walks, scoring once, and stealing a base in addition to his fellow freshman Jon Meola's coming off the bench to go one-for-one. The weekend proved to be far quieter, however, as Dozier was unable to record a base hit and Meola did not see further action.

New York was the site of the closing of the week’s play as Canisius College continued their recent string of success to earn a 3-1 record. Junior infielder Jake Lumley has been at the center of much of the Griffins’ recent success, however, Lumley survived a relatively pedestrian week as he managed just three hits, a pair of RBI, and a stolen base in the four games. Despite finding himself on base less frequently than in the several weeks prior, Lumley’s .282 batting average remains towards the top of the squad. Additionally, Lumley has hit a home run, driven in 17 runs, and scored a team-leading 23 times. For Lumley’s teammate Josh Shepley, however, the weekend will be remembered among his most productive of the season. The junior right-hander, Canisius’s Friday starter, fired a stellar six innings of one-run, five-hit ball and struck out three hitters. Although he did not factor into the decision, Shepley lowered his ERA to 4.95 and widened his strikeout-to-walk ratio to 30 to 11 while maintaining his 1-3 record.

The home opener for the Wisconsin Rapids Rafters is June 1st at 7:05 against the Green Bay Bullfrogs. Solarus Founders Club, bleacher 9-Game ticket packages, and group outing packages are on sale now. Call 715-424-5400 or stop by the Rafters Front Office Monday-Friday from 9-5 to purchase a ticket package or book a group outing.