EAU CLAIRE (Press Release) - Jacob Doyle allowed just a single hit after the first inning Thursday night, but two pitchers for the Eau Claire Express did Doyle one better and held the Wisconsin Rapids Rafters completely hitless in a 5-0 loss at Carson Park.
Starter Tony Vocca did the bulk of the work for the Express as he tossed eight no-hit innings with four walks and 14 strike-outs against the Rafters. Vocca walked the first batter he faced in the ninth as a pitch count forced him from the game. Reliever Mike Couch finished what Vocca started however, striking out the last three batters in the ninth to complete the no hitter and send the Rafters to their second straight loss.
Before halting the Express over his final seven innings on the night, Doyle narrowly survived a five run first inning. A lead-off homer put Eau Claire up 1-0. Three straight singles loaded the bases, still with no one out. A double from the next hitter scored two more to make it 3-0. Hits numbers six and seven eventually plated another pair of runs and had the Express leading 5-0.
Starting in the second, Doyle clamped down on the Eau Claire bats. The righty from Arizona retired nine straight batters over the second, third and fourth innings. A lead double in the fifth proved the only blemish on Doyle's night as he locked in and retired the next twelve straight. All told, Doyle allowed five runs over eight innings with seven strike-outs and no walks.
With just two base-runners against Vocca through their first seven at bats, the Rafters failed to even mount a threat until the eighth. A lead walk by Josh Cyr and a two out walk from Garrett Novinski put two on base for the first time all game, but a called strike three ended the inning and the small threat. Walks gave the Rafters their glimmer of hope in the ninth as Vocca walked one and Couch walked another before three strike-outs sent the Rafters to their second no-hit loss in as many years.
The Rafters final two game series of the season is here at Witter Field against the La Crosse Loggers on August 13 and 14.
Courtesy: Rafters Press Release