The St. Cloud River Bats scored the lone run of the game in the bottom of the ninth to defeat the Eau Claire Express tonight by a final score 1-0 at Joe Faber Field.
Eau Claire loses back-to-back games for the first time since late June. The Express fall to an overall record of 30-22 and a second half record of 13-5. The River Bats are now 29-23 overall and 8-10 in the second half. St. Cloud has won the last four meetings over the Express.
Both teams had numerous scoring opportunities throughout the night, but both Express starter Eddie Gamboa (UC-Davis) and St. Cloud starter Robbie Weinhardt would keep the opposition in check.
The Express had their best scoring chances in the sixth and seventh innings. In the sixth, Eau Claire led off with two consecutive walks and then a sacrifice put runners at second and third with one out. However, two fly outs would end the threat. In the seventh after a leadoff walk, Justin Uribe (UCLA) would get the first hit of the game for Eau Claire. The Express ended up loading the bases with one out. However, once again they would get nothing, as they would ground into a double play to retire the side.
After Eau Claire was retired in order in the top of the ninth, David Cales (Illinois-Chicago) came in to relief Gamboa in the bottom of the ninth. After a strikeout to begin the inning, Jeff Hulett would hit a hustling double down the left field line. A wild pitch then moved him to third. Dylan Tonneson then hit a single up the middle to win the game for the River Bats by a score of 1-0.
Cales falls to 1-1 this season. Gamboa allowed just five hits in eight innings of work. Ryan Seefus (1-0) gets the win in relief.
The Express will face St. Cloud for the second game of a two-game series tomorrow night a Joe Faber Field. The first pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m.