Wisconsin Rapids, Wis - It was a thrilling game between two Central Wisconsin rivals as the Wisconsin Rapids Rafters (1-2) defeated the Wisconsin Woodchucks (0-3) by a score of 5-4. Both teams entered the matchup badly in need of a win each club was 0-2 after two opening series sweeps. The Woodchucks got the scoring going early as Kyle Toth (Ole Miss) singled with one out. He then was able to advance all the way to third on a wild pick- off attempt from Rafters’ starter Matt McClain (St. Marys). Toth then came home on a McClain wild pitch.
The Rafters pulled ahead in the bottom of the second when Chandler Tracy (Saint Martins) hit a lead off solo home run in his first plate appearance as a Rafter. Wisconsin Rapids would tack on another run in the inning but squandered a glorious opportunity when they loaded the bases with none out but failed to score a single run.
It was a sloppy game all evening as the two teams combined for 4 errors (3 by Wisconsin Rapids) added on top of a couple mental mistakes. Both starting pitchers labored as Zach Barr (Arkansas) only lasted 3 innings while throwing 61 pitches. McClain was able to battle through 6 tough innings while dealing 110 pitches. None of the 3 runs he gave up were earned although two errors that led to those runs were committed by McClain himself.
The biggest moment of the game came in the top of the 9thwhen Kyle Toth led off with a double allowing the heart of the Woodchucks order an opportunity to give Wisconsin the lead. Rafters’ pitcher Isaac Behme (Webster) would bear down and retire all three batters giving Wisconsin Rapids a chance in the bottom of the ninth.
A night after the Woodchucks had lost a 15- inning affair, it seemed destined that this game too would go extras. However, the Rafters did not put a single ball in play in the bottom of the ninth as three walks (one intentional) and two strikeouts put Bobby Gregorich (UW-Stevens Point) in a position to win the game. It was then déjà vu all over again for Woodchucks reliever Tim McElroy (Purdue) who, for the second night in a row, picked up the loss on a walk- off wild pitch. The errant pitch allowed Michael Jurgella to bring home the winning run and ensure Wisconsin Rapids’ first win of the year.
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