The Wisconsin Woodchucks
came up 90 feet short on a comeback attempt on the Eau Claire Express, as the
Express defeated the Woodchucks 5-4.
Woodchucks' starter Mark Royer and Express starter Jordan Kipper traded zeroes for the first four-and-a-half innings until the Express broke through in the fifth. With the bases loaded and no outs, Josh Scheffert lofted a sacrifice to right field that scored Frank Salas from third, giving the Express a 1-0 lead. Royer got Ryan Wagner to ground into a 3-6-3 double play to end the threat.
The ‘Chucks answered right back with a run of their own in the top of the sixth. A walk by Brooks Braga and a single by Greg Hamrock followed by a walk by Luke Moran loaded the bases for Brian Smith and one out. Smith popped a ball in to right that was caught by Ryan Gerber on a dive, but it allowed Braga to score and tie the game at one.
In the bottom of the seventh, Mike Mierow hit the first home run of the Woodchucks' season, a solo homer over the left field wall that put the ‘Chucks in front 2-1. That ended the night for Kipper, who finished with six and two-thirds innings pitched, eight strikeouts, and two earned runs.
Royer exited the game after six innings, allowing only one unearned run and two hits to the Express.
The Express came back with a big answer in the bottom of the eighth as they scored four runs to take a three-run lead. The inning started off with back-to-back singles by Ty Forney and Josh Scheffert. After a walk to Kyle Young loaded the bases, Nick Bullington knocked a single to right that scored two runs and gave the Express a 3-2 lead. They went on to score two more runs, one on an RBI single by Ryan Gerber, the other on a walk by Zach Wendorf.
The Woodchucks did not go down quietly, however. With the bases loaded in the ninth, Matt Southard hit both Luke Moran and Brian Smith to bring the ‘Chucks within a run. They could not get the tying run across, however, as the Express took game two of the series, 5-4.
The ‘Chucks, who fell to 1-1 on the season, will be back in action tomorrow night for their home opener at Athletic Park. First pitch is scheduled for 6:35.
Courtesy: Wisconsin Woodchucks