The Wisconsin Woodchucks broke open a one-run game in the bottom of the eighth, scoring five runs to down the Express tonight by a score of 8-2 at Athletic Park.
The Express fall to a 1-4 record on the road and now have an overall record of 3-6 this season. Wisconsin improves to 6-2 and remains on top of the South Division. The Woodchucks are now 12-5 all-time against the Express and have won the last six meetings.
The Woodchucks got up on the Express early scoring three runs in the bottom of the first inning. With a runner on and two outs, Eau Claire would hit a batter and walk the next batter to load the bases. Matt Gantner, the son of manager and former major leaguer Jim Gantner, then hit a two-RBI single that scored Brandon Frasier and Will Hogue. The next batter Jordan Stine hit another single the knocked in Justin Potes to make the score 3-0.
The Express got their first run in the top of the third after Mike LaLuna (New York Tech) leadoff the inning with a double to left field. Then with runners at the corners, Bryan Frew (Nebraska-Omaha) hit a single that scored LaLuna to cut the Wisconsin lead to 3-1. Eau Claire got closer in the top of the sixth when LaLuna drove in Pat Colwell (San Diego State) on a single to right center to make the score 3-2.
The Express kept the score 3-2 in the bottom of the inning thanks to a great defensive play by Colwell. After a triple by Potes, Gantner hit a fly ball to center. Colwell caught the ball and got Potes at the plate to end the inning. Eau Claire failed to tie the game in the top of the eighth as Tim Huber (Nebraska-Omaha) leadoff the inning with a double. After a base hit by LaLuna, runners were at the corners with no one out. However, the Express would come away with no runs. The Express left a season-high nine runners on base tonight.
The Woodchucks blew the game open in the bottom of the eighth as they scored five runs as they would cruise to victory by a score of 8-2.
Joe Bonfe (Creighton) (0-1) received the loss for the Express. Adam Morrison earned the win for the Woodchucks. Collin Auten picked up the save for the Wisconsin.
The Express and the Woodchucks will play game two of a two-game series at Athletic Park tomorrow beginning at 6:35 p.m.