(raftersbaseball.com) Wisconsin Rapids, WI- Donnie Dewees (North Florida), George Ragsdale (Virginia), and Derek Peake (UW-Milwaukee) all had home runs, but the Eau Claire Express (29-33, 17-11) a massive five-run ninth inning to top the Wisconsin Rapids Rafters (28-34, 9-18), 11-6, Saturday night at Witter Field. The loss gives Eau Claire the series split, while finishing up the 10-game set between the two clubs with the Rafters claiming victories by a count of 10 games to four. Wisconsin Rapids is now 2-4 on their current eight-game home stand.
Greg Maisto (Texas A&M) had perhaps his best start of the season, tossing 5 2/3 innings of work, issuing just six hits, but made two big mistakes throughout the evening.
After loading the bases in the third, Jose Vizcaino Jr. (Santa Clara) ripped a two-out bases-clearing double off the left field wall to give the Express the early lead, 3-0.
Dewees and Peake had answers in the fifth after Riley Spetz (UW-Stevens Point) led the inning off with his second base hit of the day. The hit by Spetz was part of a three-hit evening for the freshman, his first of the season. With Spetz on first, Peake launched his first home run of the year on a 0-1 pitch to right field to give the Rafters their first runs of the game and pushed the Rafters within striking distance, 3-2. Ragsdale followed with a single to left, the base hit by Ragsdale extended his current hitting streak to seven games, his longest of the year. Dewees then followed with a home run to center field to give the Rafters the lead, 4-3.
Eau Claire would follow with eight unanswered runs, including a five-run ninth-inning where the Express sent 11 men to plate. The big at-bat of the ninth inning came by Greg Harisis (Santa Clara) when the junior roped a grand slam over the right field wall to push the Express lead, 11-4. The home run by Harisis was part of a two home run and six-RBI night for the junior. Eau Claire would go on to total six hits in the inning, aided in part by a big error by Rafters first baseman, Zack Belanger (LBSU), that allowed the inning to continue.
Anthony Andres (Northern Illinois) relieved Taylor Duree (New Mexico) in the sixth inning and allowed just two base hits in his four innings of work. Andres, though, would be tagged for a two runs in the ninth inning after issuing a walk to Peake and a two-run home run to Ragsdale. The home run by Ragsdale was just his second of the season and gave the freshman his fifth multi-hit game of the season.