Eau Claire - It turns out a lack-luster first inning did not set the tone for the Wisconsin Rapids Rafters Wednesday night as the Rafters scored six runs over the fifth, sixth and seventh, to erase a two run deficit and beat the Eau Claire Express 7-5 at Carson Park.
Nestor Bautista allowed two first inning runs before recording an out. Back-to-back walks, followed by a two RBI double had the lefty and the Rafters trailing 2-0. Bautista retired the next three batters to end any further Express threat. From then on, Bautista only allowed a single run on four more hits working into the sixth to pick up his third win of the season.
A pair of home runs keyed the Rafters offense on the night. Bobby Martin got the Rafters on the board with his first round tripper of the season, a solo shot in the third. Then after scoring a pair to tie the game in the fifth, Curtis Frisbie gave his squad the lead with a two run blast to left. Leading it 5-3, the Rafters tacked on another pair in the seventh, marking three straight two run frames to take a commanding 7-3 lead.
After Bautista retired one batter in the sixth, Jacob Doyle and Kevin Wild combined for just over two scoreless innings to hold the express at bay. Jack Larsen, a strike call away from a scoreless ninth, did allow a two out, two run home run to set the final score, but recorded the final out to close the win. In all, the four Rafters arms struck out 11 Eau Claire hitters on the night, issuing just two walks after the third inning.
With wins in seven of their last nine, the Rafters will keep pace in the South division standings as they move to 7-4 on the second half of play. The defeat drops the Express, in last place in the standings, to 2-10 this half. Wednesday marks just the second time this season the Rafters defeated the Express, picking up the win in their first of five second half meetings.
Courtesy: Wisconsin Rapids Rafters