The Eau Claire Express rallied to tie the game in the ninth and then a Bryce Nimmo (Nebraska) RBI single in the 10th gave the Express the win as they defeated the Wisconsin Woodchucks tonight by a final score of 8-7 at Athletic Park.
The extra inning win is the first for the Express this season. The win also snaps a four-game losing skid as Eau Claire now has a record of 13-14. The Woodchucks fall to a record of 12-15.
Wisconsin got an early lead when with the bases loaded in the bottom of the first Matt Gantner would work a walk to force a runner in to make the score 1-0. Eau Claire responded in the top of the second when Joe Bonfe (Creighton) hit a solo home run to left to tie the game 1-1. It was Bonfe’s third home run of the season.
The Woodchucks re-took the lead in the third inning on a Darin Ruf solo home run to make the score 2-1 Wisconsin. Eau Claire then came back to take the lead in the top of the fourth when with two outs and runners at second and third Jacob Jefferies (UC-Davis) reached on a throwing error that allowed David Cales (Illinois-Chicago) and Tyler Goodro (Butler CC) to score and give the Express a 3-2 lead.
A Jordan Stine RBI single and a Darin Ruf two-run double in the bottom of the fourth gave Wisconsin a 5-3 lead. Bryan Frew (Nebraska-Omaha) made the score 5-4 when he crossed the plate on a Jonathan Merritt (Alabama-Birmingham) fielder’s choice. Then in the sixth, Bryce Nimmo hit a bases loaded single that drove in Bonfe and Jefferies to give the Express a 6-5 lead.
In the seventh, Eau Claire would commit an error with two outs to keep the inning alive. Wisconsin than made Eau Claire pay when Joe Servais hit a two-run double to make the score 7-6. The score remained that way until the ninth. Justin Uribe (UCLA) reached on a single and then advanced to second on a wild pitch. Jacob Jefferies then stepped to the plate with two outs and ripped a double to left center to tie the game 7-7.
Pat Colwell (San Diego State) led off the 10th with a single. A sacrifice moved him over to second. Bryce Nimmo then hit a single to center that plated Colwell to give the Express an 8-7 lead. In the bottom of the 10th, the Woodchucks got runners at second and third with one out. However, Kole Calhoun (Yavapai) would strikeout the final two batters to end the game as the Express won 8-7.
Calhoun (1-0) earns his first win of the season out of the bullpen. Kevin Duke picked up the loss for the Woodchucks.
The Express and Woodchucks will play tomorrow night at Carson Park in the second game of a home-and-home series. Tomorrow’s first pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m.