Following a tough loss the previous night, the Eau Claire Express rebounded with a 7-2 victory over the Madison Mallards tonight at Carson Park.
The win improves Eau Claire to a 2-1 record in the second half and a 19-18 record overall. Madison drops to 1-2 in the second half and 17-20 overall. Only 825 people watched tonight’s game, which is the lowest in Express history.
The Express took the lead early and did not relinquish it. With one out in the bottom of the first, Bryan Frew (Nebraska-Omaha) singled. He then advanced to second on a wild pitch. Kole Calhoun (Yavapai) then ripped a double to left center that scored Frew to give the Express a 1-0 lead.
Dominic Piazza (Nebraska) led off the second inning with his second home run of the season, a shot into the Fan Deck to make the score 2-0 Eau Claire. Jordan Comadena put the Mallards on the board in the fifth with titanic solo home run over the left field wall to make the score 2-1. Madison had a chance to add more in the inning, but with runners at the corners, Russell Harben was called for batter’s interference, which ended the inning.
The Express got that run back and added another in the bottom of the fifth. With one out, Pat Colwell (San Diego State) reached on an infield single. After stealing second, Colwell would score on a Bryce Nimmo (Nebraska) single to left. After a Madison error that would have ended the inning, Calhoun hit a RBI single that drove in Nimmo to make the score 4-1.
Comadena led off the seventh inning with a ground-rule double to right. After a walk and a double steal, the Mallards had runners at second and third with one out. Eric Nielsen then hit a shallow fly to the second baseman, but the ball was deep enough to score Comadena from third to cut the Express lead to 4-2.
Eau Claire then broke it open in the bottom of the seventh. Jonathan Merritt (Alabama-Birmingham) led off with a single. With two outs, Calhoun walked to put runners at first and second. Justin Uribe (UCLA) then hit a groundball to the second baseman, but it was misplayed, which allowed Merritt to score from second. David Cales (Illinois-Chicago) followed that with a RBI single to left to plate Calhoun. Piazza then hit a groundball towards short, but the throw went wide, which allowed Uribe to score and give the Express a 7-2 lead. That would be the final score as the Express won 7-2.
Tim Huber (Nebraska-Omaha) (6-1) went eight innings and struck out nine to get the win. He allowed just three hits in the eight innings. Eryk McConnell (2-1) picks up his first loss of the season for Madison. Calhoun went 2-for-3 two RBIs to lead the Express at the plate.
The Express and the Mallards play their final game before the All-Star Break tomorrow. The first pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m.