Tucker Novotny threw eight scoreless innings and Frederick Romano followed in the ninth to help the Minnesota Mud Puppies shut out the Eau Claire Express 3-0 Friday at Carson Park.

The Express mustered just two hits — an Alejandro Macario double in the third and a Jake Nelson single in the fifth — in a second straight loss to the Northwoods League's nomadic squad, a unit created to take the place of the Thunder Bay Border Cats this summer.

Ben Palmer's three-run homer in the fourth was the difference. He cleared the bases with a shot to left field to get home Will Oberg and William Sturek.

Eau Claire starter Brandt Pancer is still looking for his first Northwoods win, falling to 0-5. He allowed the three runs, all earned, and four hits with one walk. He struck out two.

Trevyn Badger and Luke Trahan each allowed one hit in relief, Badger in three innings and Trahan in two.

The Express kick off their final home series of the regular season Saturday against the Waterloo Bucks. First pitch is scheduled for 6:35 p.m.