EAU CLAIRE (WAOW) - The Wisconsin Woodchucks took game one of the South Division Championship Series Tuesday night in Eau Claire by a score of 3-2. In a passionately contested and well played game, a timely run in the top of the eighth inning, and clutch relief pitching made the difference.
The ‘Chucks came out swinging and got on the board in the top of the first inning. After Kevin Pillar led off the game with a walk, he advanced to third base on a one out Travis Whitmore single. In the following at-bat Pat Terry hit a sacrifice fly to the warning track in right field, scoring Pillar.
The Express struck back with a run off of Woodchucks' starter Nick Capito in the bottom of the second, after Steve McGuiggan led off the inning with a double. Nate Baumann would send McGuiggan to third, before Andrew Leonard's groundball send home McGuiggan to make the score 1-1.
The ‘Chucks answered in the top of the third, taking the lead back with a Travis Whitmore RBI sacrifice squeeze to score Kevin Pillar. Then the Express came back to tie things up in the bottom of the frame. With one down in the third inning, Drew Heithoff would walk and advance to second on the ensuing sacrifice bunt. A two-out clutch hit by Lucas Herbst sent Heithoff come, deadlocking the game 2-2.
Beginning the fourth, both teams' starting pitchers took over. Woodchucks' starter Nick Capito went six strong innings, allowing six hits, one walk, and two runs to score. Capito would help himself out with two pickoffs, and retire another runner on base after an elaborate pickoff rundown play. Capito's opposition, Felix Cardinas, went seven innings and allowed only four hits, two walks, and two runs.
The winning run was scored in the 8th inning, as Rob Lind led off with a single, and advanced to second on a Brock Stassi hit. A subsequent hit to left field from Brian Sharp would have Lind sent home, and he'd reach home safely after cather Nathan Orf was unable to handle a perfect throw- and the ‘Chucks would lead 3-2.
The ‘Chucks got two remarkable innings of play from reliever Jared Eickoff, who allowed only one baserunner, going through the heart of the Express lineup. Jason Martyn came on for the save, and dispatch the Express with two strikeouts and a 1-2-3 inning.
Game two will be played Wednesday Night at Athletic Park, beginning at 6:35, with both pitchers yet to be determined.
Courtesy: Woodchucks Press Release