There were plenty of fireworks Friday night. Just not the kind the Eau Claire Express were hoping for.
Eric Schenk- Joblinske’s three-run homer in the third inning put the Express in a hole that was too deep to climb out of, lifting the Mankato MoonDogs to a 6-5 win in front of 5,016 people at Carson Park.
Starting pitcher Andy Davis, a McDonell grad, didn’t have his best stuff and was tagged for three runs in the first and Schenk-Joblinske’s homer in the third.
“We gave up six pretty early runs, six runs that probably could have been turned around the other way,” Express manager Dale Varsho said. “They didn’t hit the ball real hard.
“We fought back. We played hard. We did what we’ve been doing all year, just keep on fighting.”
The Express scored on two productive outs in the fourth inning as Drew Turbin grounded out to score Daniel Salters and Jack Zoellner hit a sac fly to drive in Tyler Hermann.
They added two more runs in the seventh when Peter Van Gansen singled to drive in a pair.
“We definitely don’t give up,” said Van Gansen, who went 2-for-3 with two RBIs. “We feel like once we’re down we can come back from whatever deficit we’re in. We just try to keep each other up and have fun.”
Peter Hendron came on in the fourth and fired four nearly-perfect innings, surrendering one hit while striking out three in just his second outing of the summer.
“Peter’s grown up a bit since last summer,” Varsho said. “Last summer he tried to throw it by everybody. This year he’s been more finesse, but he’s still got that fastball to throw it by people. You can tell he’s matured and he’s gotten a lot better.”
The Express had a chance for some late-game heroics in the ninth. Zoellner singled and Van Gansen walked to put the potential winning run on base before Mankato closer Tyler Mark struck out Brady Burzynski and Jeff Hendrix to end the game.
“Every game is different,” Varsho said. “We just have to keep on battling through it. We’ve got to try to figure out how to get a W. It seems like every single base hit, every blooper, just falls in against us. We’ve just got to make sure we reverse it back a little bit and try to get some luck on our side.”
MOONDOGS 6, EXPRESS 5
AB-R-H-RBI: Tyler Sullivan, cf, 5-1-2-0; Brett Synek, 2b, 5-0-3-0; Peter Maris, ss, 2-1-0-1; Levi Scott, 1b, 4-1-0-0; Brinn Bell, rf, 4-1-2-0; Tanner Rockwell, 3b, 4-1-3-1; Eric Schenck-Joblinske, lf, 4-1-1-3; Brett Murray, dh, 4-0-0-0; Dalton DeLeon, c, 3-0-0-0; Logan Gray, c/dh, 1-0-0-0; Taylor Elman, p, 0-0-0-0; Mitchell Traver, p, 0-0-0-0; Tyler Mark, p, 0-0-0-0. Totals 37-6-11-5.
EAU CLAIRE (5)
Brady Burzynski, lf, 5-1-1-0; Jeff Hendrix, cf, 5-0-0-0; Daniel Salters, c, 3-1-2-1; Tyler Hermann, 3b, 3-1-1-0; Drew Turbin, rf, 4-0-0-1; Brian Mundell, dh, 3-1-1-0; Jack Zoellner, 1b, 3-1-2-1; Mike Barajas, pr, 0-0-0-0; Mike Porcaro, 2b, 3-0-1-0; Peter Van Gansen, ss, 3-0-2-2; Andy Davis, p, 0-0-0-0; Peter Hendron, p, 0-0-0-0; Taylor Duree, p, 0-0-0-0. Totals 32-5-10-5.
Mankato 303 000 000 — 6 11 0
Eau Claire 100 200 200 — 5 10 1
E — Turbin. LOB — Mankato 5; Eau Claire 6. 2B — Burzynski, Hermann, Zoellner. HR — Schenck-Joblinske. CS — Synek. SAC — Maris; Salters, Zoellner.
Mankato IP H R ER BB SO
Elman (W) 6 8 5 5 0 1
Traver 2 1 0 0 0 1
Mark 1 1 0 0 1 2
Davis (L) 3 7 6 5 1 1
Hendron 4 1 0 0 0 3
Duree 2 3 0 0 0 1
HBP — Hermann (by Traver), Mundell (by Elman).