The Eau Claire Express kept their playoff hopes alive with a 7-4 victory over La Crosse on Monday in La Crosse.
Alejandro Macario broke a 4-4 tie with an RBI double in the sixth inning, and the Express held on from there. Eddy Pelc threw three sharp innings out of the bullpen to preserve the lead, and Ben Shepard slammed the door in the bottom of the ninth.
With the win, the third-place Express gained a game on second-place Duluth in the Great Plains East. Eau Claire is two games behind the Huskies with five games left to play. Duluth lost to Willmar 10-5 on Monday.
With Waterloo comfortably atop the division, the second-place team is likely to make the postseason. The Bucks punched their playoff ticket by finishing atop the division in the first half of the Northwoods League season.
Macario hit two doubles in Monday’s win, and Connor Burns belted a solo home run.
Eau Claire led 4-1 after four and a half innings before the Loggers scored three times in the bottom of the fifth to tie it.
Drew Lechnir hit a two-out single in the top of the sixth before Macario drove him in as the go-ahead run. The Express tacked on another run in the eighth on Burns’ homer.
Nick Malmberg earned the win after working the first five innings. He struck out five.
Shepard got the save with a scoreless ninth, striking out two.
The Express (13-18) take on La Crosse (11-16) again on Tuesday night before heading to Waterloo for a two-game series. They close out the regular season with two games at Willmar.