With the Express down 3-2 in the bottom of the seventh, Mike LaLuna (New York Tech) hit a three-run home run over the left field wall to give the Express the lead for good as Eau Claire won 5-3 tonight against Thunder Bay at Carson Park.
The victory gives the Express a record of 3-5 overall, while the Border Cats also fall to a record of 3-5. The win gives the Express a 2-2 record at Carson Park this season.
The Express got on the board first in the bottom of the third. Kole Calhoun (Yavapai) leadoff the inning with a hustle double as the ball dropped between the shortstop and centerfielder. Mike LaLuna followed that with a single to put runners at the corners. Pat Colwell (San Diego State) then reached on a fielder’s choice to load the bases. Bryan Frew (Nebraska-Omaha) then knocked in Calhoun and LaLuna on single up the middle to give the Express a 2-0 lead.
Thunder Bay answered in the top of the fourth as Kyle Dudley scored on a groundout and then Alfredo Carmona singled in Terry Goddard to tie the contest at 2-2. The Border Cats took the lead in the top of the sixth when Chris Curley hit a solo home run that hit off of the left field foul pole to make the score 3-2.
It stayed that way until the bottom of the seventh. With one out, Calhoun reached on an infield single. Mike LaLuna then stepped to the plate and drove a hanging curve over the left field fence to give the Express a 4-3 lead. Eau Claire added insurance in the bottom of the inning as Mickey Fadness (UW-Oshkosh) hit a RBI single up the middle that plated Colwell to make the score 5-3 in favor of the Express.
Elliott Ogawa (Georgia Tech) relieved Shane Dyer (New Mexico) in the top of the eighth and struck out two, while stranding a runner in scoring position. Calhoun then came in for the save in the top of the ninth and after getting a groundout, struck out the final two batters to earn his first save of the season as the Express won 5-3.
Shane Dyer (1-1) received the win on the mound as he pitched seven innings, allowed just five hits, and had four strikeouts. He only gave up one earned run. Calhoun was 2-for-2 with two runs scored and LaLuna was 2-for-3 with two RBIs and two runs scored to lead the Express at the plate.
Eau Claire hits the road tomorrow for a two-game series against the Wisconsin Woodchucks. Tomorrow’s game is scheduled to begin at 6:35 p.m.