Eau Claire is now 10-3 in the second half and 27-20 overall. Battle Creek falls to 3-10 and 18-29 overall. The Express sit alone in second place in the South Division, one game behind the Wisconsin Woodchucks.
Eau Claire struck first in the bottom of the second. Tyler Goodro (Butler CC) led off with a single. Two batters later David Cales (Illinois-Chicago) singled to put runners at first and second. Then in his first game back from injury in over a month, Ian Hollick (New Mexico) singled to load the bases. With two outs, Mike LaLuna (New York Tech) hit an infield single to plate Goodro. Bryce Nimmo (Nebraska) then drew a walk to force Cales home to make the score 2-0.
Battle Creek got on the board in the top of the third. After an error by the Express would have ended the inning, Tony Asaro hit an infield single that scored Nick Jowers to cut the Express lead to 2-1. The Bombers then tied it in the top of the fifth when John Delaney hit a solo home run to left field. After a walk and a single, Battle Creek took the lead against Express ace Tim Huber (Nebraska-Omaha) when Sean Madigan hit a RBI single to plate Asaro and make the score 3-2. The inning ended when right fielder Kole Calhoun (Yavapai) threw out Tony Sanchez at the plate.
Battle Creek extended its lead to 4-2 in the top of the seventh when Jimmy Tanner singled up the middle to drive in Asaro. Eau Claire got things rolling again in the bottom of the eighth when Calhoun and Goodro had back-to-back singles to start the inning. After a walk loaded the bases, Nick Wichser (UW-Milwaukee) hit sacrifice fly to plate Calhoun and make the score 4-3. That is all the Express would get in the inning.
Then in the bottom of the ninth, Eau Claire went up against closer Eric Lawrence. After getting the first batter out, he would walk Nimmo. Lawrence then would induce a fly out as the Express were down to their final out. A wild pitch moved Nimmo to second and they would intentionally walk Calhoun to put runners at first and second. Jacob Jefferies (UC-Davis) then walked on four pitches to load the bases. Justin Uribe (UCLA) also would walk and force in Nimmo to tie the game 4-4. Wichser then stepped to the plate and on a 3-2 pitch; he would draw the game-winning walk to force in Calhoun as the Express won 5-4 in thrilling fashion.
Joe Bonfe (Creighton) (2-1) earns the win in relief, going 2.1 innings and striking out three. Lawrence (2-3) earns the loss for the Bombers. Nimmo was 2-for-3 with a RBI and a run scored to lead the Express offensively.
Eau Claire and Battle Creek will play game two of a two-game series tomorrow night at Carson Park. The first pitch is scheduled for 6:05 p.m.