Rafters Look To String Wins Together, Finish Road Trip
Richard makes third start as Rafters make final trip to Green Bay
Green Bay, Wis. – Tuesday night marks the fifth and final portion of a five-game road trip for the Wisconsin Rapids Rafters (28-14, 4-2) as they meet the Green Bay Bullfrogs for the seventh time this season. Entering their penultimate date of the year, the Rafters hold a 4-2 edge on the ‘Frogs overall, but have lost two of three clashes at Joannes Stadium.
Looking to follow Monday night’s victory in Kenosha with another win, the Rafters will hand the ball to Damien Richard (Xavier), as the right-hander is set to make his third start of the season. Richard, who began the season in a relief role, has turned heads for the Rafters since transitioning into the starting rotation on June 29 against the Eau Claire Express. In two starts, Richard has a record of 2-0 and has given up just two runs in 11 innings on the hill, while striking out one batter per inning on average and walking just three in total. In his most recent outing, Richard was tasked with the pressure-packed assignment of pitching the final game of the first half against Battle Creek, looking to clinch a division title on the last day of the half. Richard responded by dominating through five scoreless innings on a hot day at C.O. Brown Stadium and helping to lead the Rafters to a 1-0 win and the first division title in franchise history. To date, Richard has pitched six times in summation between starting and relieving, posting an ERA of 2.57 and 23 strikeouts compared to seven free passes in 21 innings.
The Bullfrogs will turn to Morehead State right-hander Matt Ellenbest for his fourth start of the season and tenth overall appearance. Ellenbest, the brother of Green Bay’s since-departed opening night starter Mike Ellenbest, enters play with a 2-1 record and a 3.50 ERA in 25 2/3 innings, having notched 13 strikeouts compared to five walks. The Ohio native has performed well in his last two starts, receiving an average of 12.5 runs of support and picked up a win over Kenosha by tossing six innings and allowing four runs (all earned) on 10 hits and a walk, while striking out two batters. The performance was his second-longest of the season and marked only the second time he has pitched six innings or more.
Entering play, the Rafters are involved in a series of notable streaks on both the individual and team levels. At the plate, infielder Jake Lumley (Canisius) has reached base in 26 consecutive games, matching the longest on-base streak in the Northwoods League this season. Additionally, following Monday night’s 8-5 win over the Kenosha Kingfish, the Rafters have won 23 consecutive games when scoring four runs or more.
First pitch at Joannes Stadium is scheduled for 7:05 PM, and coverage on WFHR 1320 AM will commence 15 minutes prior at 6:50 PM.
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.