Wisconsin Rapids - The Eau Claire Express used a four run ninth inning to blow a close game open and beat the Wisconsin Rapids Rafters 8-1 Wednesday night. The Rafters had just four total hits as their three game winning streak came to an end.
Eau Claire jumped on the Rafters from the very first pitch. Lead-off hitter Ryan Shober homered on the first offering of the game from Paul Schwendel and the Express tacked on one more to take a 2-0 lead after one. Schwendel then strung together four straight scoreless innings before allowing another pair of runs in the sixth. All told, the righty worked six innings, allowed five hits, four runs, walked three and struck out six.
The lone run of the night for the Rafters came in the bottom of the fourth. With no one out, Justin Jirschele walked and went to second on a sac bunt. The very next batter, Brandon Hohl singled up the middle to plate Jirschele and make it a 2-1 game at the time. After a fly out, Josh Cyr singled and Brooks Braga walked to load the bases, but a strike-out ended the inning and the threat.
After the Express scored two in the sixth, the Rafters threatened again in the seventh. A one out walk and a two out walk brought the tying run to the plate. But, just like in the fourth, a strike-out left the Rafters without a run and still trailing. Wisconsin Rapids put two more runners on in the ninth, but by then trailed 8-1 and a double play grounder ended the night.
With their play-off hopes dashed one game ago with a Tuesday night Green Bay victory, the Rafters now have four games to try and end the season on a good note. At 15-18 in the second half, the Rafters will look to win out and secure a winning record in half number two.
The Rafters final two game series of the season is here at Witter Field against the La Crosse Loggers on August 13 and 14. On Saturday August 13, join the Rafters for the game at 6:05 and stick around for the final fireworks extravaganza of the season after the game presented by Veolia Environmental Services. For tickets to any and all Rafters home games call 715-424-5400 or go online to raftersbaseball.com.
Courtesy: Wisconsin Rapids Rafters