Battle Creek, Mich. – For a while, the Wisconsin Woodchucks were looking for a starting pitcher to get them through five innings. They found some. Then they were looking for some to get through six. They found some. Saturday night, one finally got through seven. In fact, he got through eight excellent innings, the longest outing by far for a Chucks starter this year, to lead Wisconsin (19-27; 4-7) to a 3-2 win over the Battle Creek Bombers (26-20; 6-5) Saturday night at C.O. Brown Stadium.
Tyler Garam made his third start of the year against his former club, and this one was certainly his best. He allowed just four baserunners through three innings before the Chucks finally broke through in the fourth. With one out, Logan Foster lifted a triple down the right-field line and Trey Dawson drove him home on a groundout.
Garam threw a one-two-three fifth but the Chucks got back to work in the sixth. With one out, Stevie Mangrum singled and Foster walked. Dawson then punched a ball into shallow center where Battle Creek’s Nick Walker lost the ball in his feet, allowing Mangrum and Foster to score to put Wisconsin up 3-0.
Meanwhile, Korey Rasure was crafting Wisconsin’s finest start this year. He faced just two over the minimum through five on fewer than 60 pitches. Cody Hawken doubled to lead off the sixth, but Rasure got a strikeout and two flyouts to avoid any damage. He struck out JD Mundy to tie his own season-long of 6.1 innings, and then broke that by getting Nikola Vasic to pop out in right. Then he struck out Aaron Antonini to become the first Wisconsin pitcher this year to go through seven frames.
But he wasn’t done yet. He quickly got two outs in the eighth before Battle Creek started on a path to another potential late-game comeback. Hawken singled and then leadoff man and 2017 Home Run Derby contestant Tom Stoffel launched a two-run homer to right to bring the Bombers within one. Rasure got the final out to get through the eighth, his fourth quality start this year in six tries
With two lefties due up in the ninth, Lenny Gwizdala got one out before Mundy bounced a single into right. Nick Menken came in to pinch-run and Vasic flew out into foul territory in left field where Tristan Clarke made an impressive grab on the run. Battle Creek sent up right-handed Justin Felix as a pinch-hitter against Gwizdala, so Andrew Fabian countered with Orsen Josephina, who struck out Felix on five pitches to pick up his 14th save of the season and clinch the 3-2 Wisconsin win.
The Woodchucks will try for a series sweep and a season series split tomorrow against the Bombers. Austin Lambright will make his third start of the year against Battle Creek with first pitch slated for 1:05 PM CT.