07/11/2012 8:46 PM
The Chinooks returned to Kapco Park Wednesday night to end their two-game slide with a 9-4 win. The Chinooks knew they were in for a challenge with the Bullfrogs’ Bradley Wallace on the mound. Wallace has mowed his Northwoods League opponents down with a 0.97 ERA in seven appearances thus far. On the rubber for the Chinooks was Andrew Waszak (MSU), who now stands at 3-0 on the season.
“He’s a potential All-Star, I like everything he does,” commented Head Coach John Vodenlich on Bullfrogs starting pitcher, Wallace. “It took us some time to get to him a bit, but when the flood gates open, they opened for us.”
The Bullfrogs struck first when Ransom Lalonde cracked an RBI single into right field, just short of Eric Aguilera, to score Collin Shaw after his lead-off single in the 1st inning.
With the Chinooks offense continuing to struggle at the hands of Wallace, the Bullfrogs’ Jason McMurray drove the ball down the right field line to reach first and score David Armendariz from third to increase the Bullfrogs’ lead to 2-0.
Everything was going well for the away team through the first three innings of the ballgame. Wallace had a no-hitter going and the Bullfrogs added another run, increasing the lead to 3-0, in the 4th.
The Chinooks inability to manage a hit ended in dramatic fashion in the bottom of the 4th inning. German Reyes (Winston Salem) tripled to center field to set the stage for Bre Kimbell (Louisiana Tech), who connected on a pitch that was sent over the wall on a ground-rule-double that scored the Chinooks first run. With the Chinooks’ offense awakening from their three inning slumber, thanks to two of their most prolific hitters, runs began to pile up. Eric Aguilera (Illinois State) tied the game with an RBI double and the Chinooks took the lead on a fielding-error by Lalonde that allowed Aguilera to then reach home. The inning finally ended, after the entire Chinooks lineup appeared at the plate, with a bases loaded strike out.
“Everybody hits, everybody’s doing well, and everybody contributes. Me and Bre (Kimbell) have been hitting well, but so has everybody else. Everybody plays a part in our offense,” commented Aguilera.
The Chinooks remained hot at the plate in the 5th inning with three more hits and an RBI single by Ryan Ussery (UAB) to center field. With a two-run lead and one out, David Masters (Arkansas) then hit an RBI groundout to the Bullfrogs’ shortstop to carry the Chinooks into the 6th with a 6-3 lead.
Wallace, the Bullfrogs’ ace, struggled after his dominant performance through the first three innings. He was replaced after five complete innings, giving up five earned runs on seven hits. Wallace received the loss, his first, giving him a 4-1 record on the season.
Waszak was relieved in the 7th inning by the hard throwing Ryan Harris (Florida) who went two innings. Waszak allowed 8 hits, 3 runs, 2 walks and struck out 1.
The Bullfrogs made a valiant last effort to regain the lead with a run in the 7th that drew the lead to within two. However, they were unable to sustain a comeback due to their inability to score late-inning runs and the Chinooks’ offensive bombardment. In the 8th, Matt Morse (UAB) scored three runs on a single in which he tried to reach home on an error in right field. The three runs earned in the 8th sealed the deal for the Chinooks, giving them the 9-4 win.
Harris buried the Bullfrogs at the plate after giving up one run in the 7th. He struck out four of the six batters he faced.
The 9th inning was far from riveting, but the inning was made noteworthy by Charlie Markson (Notre Dame) and his “Gold Glove” play in which he flipped over the left field wall into the opposing bullpen to get the first out of the inning.
Tonight’s win moves the Chinooks’ second half record to 3-3, and two games out of first place. Game two of the two-game series is tomorrow night at 7:05p.m. in Green Bay.