The Eau Claire Express did what it had to do tonight defeating the Alexandria Beetles 12-1 at Knute Nelson Memorial Stadium to stay a half-game behind Madison.
Eau Claire improves to 22-9 in the second half and 39-26 overall. Alexandria falls to 15-16 in the second half and 33-31 overall. The win guarantees that the Express will go into the Madison series controlling their own destiny. If Eau Claire wins tomorrow night and Madison loses, the Express will only have to win one of the two games this weekend. However, if Madison wins tomorrow, no matter what the Express does, Eau Claire will have to win both games at Warner Park. The Mallards broke a Northwoods League record with their 16th straight win tonight over Duluth.
The Express jumped out early scoring one run in the first and then one run in the fifth to take a 2-0 lead. Eau Claire broke the game open in the top of the seventh. Bryce Nimmo (Nebraska) got the scoring started in the inning on a base hit that plated Nick Wichser (UW-Milwaukee) and Pat Colwell (San Diego State) to make the score 4-0. After a walk, Kole Calhoun (Yavapai) singled in Nimmo to give the Express a 5-0 lead. Ian Hollick (New Mexico) then scored on a wild pitch. Jake Jefferies (UC-Davis) then hit a RBI single to drive in Calhoun to make the score 7-0. With the single, Jefferies ties an Express record with 13 straight games with a hit. Justin Uribe (UCLA) then belted a three-run homer to cap off the scoring as the Express scored eight runs in the inning to take a 10-0 lead. The eight runs scored ties a team record for most runs scored in an inning. The Express scored eight runs in the third inning against the Waterloo Bucks on July 5, 2005.
The Beetles got on the scoreboard in the eighth inning on a solo home run to make the score 10-1. Wichser would give the Express a 12-1 lead in the ninth on a two-run home run. That is how the game would end as the Express won 12-1. The 12 runs scored ties for the third most in team history.
Eddie Gamboa (UC-Davis) (4-1) pitched eight innings of one-run baseball to keep the Express in contention.
Eau Claire will conclude its series with Alexandria at Knute Nelson Memorial Stadium tomorrow night. The first pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m.