Pitching struggles early, Rafters fall from first - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Pitching struggles early, Rafters fall from first

Wisconsin Rapids - With just two hits over their final four at bats, the Wisconsin Rapids Rafters never overcame an early two run deficit in an 8-4 loss to the Eau Claire Express Thursday night.

After the Rafters provided a single run of support in the bottom of the first inning, a lead-off walk from starter Michael Huckabay opened the door for a three running inning for the Express, as they sent eight to the plate. In the very next inning, a pair of lead-off singles came around to score against Huckabay, putting the Express up 5-1.

Alex Edward, already with a sac-fly for an RBI in the first inning, brought the Rafters back within two runs with a two out, two run homer in the bottom of the third inning. Edward, now hitting over .321 on the season, has ten hits and nine RBI over the last seven Rafters games.

In his final full inning of a short start, Huckabay allowed a single run to the Express, setting the deficit at 6-3 in the top of the fourth. In the bottom half of the inning, Curtis Frisbie doubled and came to the plate thanks to a stolen base and an error. Huckabay walked the first batter he faced in fifth, leaving him with four innings pitched, six runs allowed, three earned, six hits, four walks and three strike outs.

The Rafters made four errors in the game, two behind Huckabay. The four miscues come after the Rafters made just six total errors in their previous eight games. Michael Russo finished the fifth inning scoreless for Huckabay, and then worked a scoreless sixth, allowing two singles and a walk. In the seventh a lead triple came around to score off of Evan Stermer before Jacob Doyle closed out the inning. Doyle worked a scoreless eighth, striking out two, before allowing a run in the ninth.

Trailing by two in the bottom of the fifth, the Rafters brought the tying run to the plate. Brandon Hohl doubled with two outs, but the throw from right beat Edward to the plate ending the threat. A lead-off single and a sac bunt in the sixth gave the Rafters their final threat, but a strike-out and a ground out left them empty again.

Courtesy: Wisconsin Rapids Rafters

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