Double-digit runs pace Rafters to fourth consecutive win
Green Bay, Wis. – After leaving a season-high 22 runners on base Thursday night, the Wisconsin Rapids Rafters (27-12) exploded for 10 runs and 15 hits in a 10-5 victory over the Green Bay Bullfrogs (15-24). In the offensive showcase, ten separate players recorded at least one hit for the Rafters, including all but one starter.
Making his first start of the season, left-hander Andrew Mahoney of the Bullfrogs received an unfriendly greeting from the Rafters, who opened the scoring on a bases-loaded Jacson McGowan (Purdue) sacrifice fly in the top of the first inning. After a perfect first inning from Cal Giese (St. Cloud State), the Rafters exploded to score four runs in the second inning and knocked Mahoney from the game after completing just 1 1/3 innings. With the bases loaded and one out, Brandon Polizzi (Cal State Dominguez Hills) laced a two-run double over the head of Bullfrog center fielder Laren Eustace. The next two batters, Logan Mattix (Georgia College) and Rob Calabrese (Illinois-Chicago), each proceeded to knock run-scoring singles and lifted the Rafters to a 5-0 lead heading to the bottom of the second inning.
After the Bullfrogs used run-scoring singles from Brian Lees and Austin Clemons to narrow the score to 5-2, the scoring pace slowed and a series of scoreless innings followed. Giese, who picked up his third victory of the season despite walking a season-high five batters, stiffened in the bottom of the third inning to force a 1-2-3 double play to escape a bases-loaded, no-out threat unscathed. After a quiet fourth, the Bullfrogs broke through again in the bottom of the fifth on a run-scoring double play that closed the gap to 5-3. In the ensuing half inning, the Rafters would use a run-scoring double play of their own to widen their lead back to three runs.
With a 6-3 advantage entering the top of the seventh inning, the Rafters pieced together three hits, a walk, and a hit batsmen to score a trio of runs and push the score to 9-3 at the seventh inning stretch. Run-scoring singles from Dustin Woodcock (SIU-Edwardsville) and Jake Lumley (Canisius) paired with an RBI double from Doak Dozier (Virginia) to account for the damage.
A two-run single from Quincy Nieporte off Jack Riley (UConn) allowed a pair of Bullfrog runs to score in the bottom of the seventh and inched the home club closer to the Rafters. With two outs and the threat still alive, the Rafters handed the ball to John Jaeger (Sterling College) to record the final out of the seventh, only to watch the right-hander fire 2 1/3 scoreless innings out of the bullpen to close out the game. Ben Fisher (Eastern Kentucky) came off the bench in the top of the eighth inning to hit a pinch-hit solo home run and pushed the score to 10-5 where it would hold the remainder of the night.
The Rafters will continue their five-game road swing on Saturday night in Green Bay with first pitch scheduled at Joannes Stadium for 6:35 p.m.
The Wisconsin Rapids Rafters are a member of the finest developmental league for elite college baseball players, the Northwoods League. Playing its 23rd 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 150 Northwoods League players have advanced to Major League Baseball, including Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer (WAS) and MLB All-Stars Chris Sale (CWS), Jordan Zimmermann (DET), Curtis Granderson (NYM), Lucas Duda (NYM) and Ben Zobrist (CHC). All league games are viewable live via the Northwoods League portal. For more information, visit www.raftersbaseball.com or download the new Northwoods League Mobile App on the Apple App Store and set the Rafters as your favorite team.