UW-La Crosse gets revenge on Yellowjackets

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For the 2013 Yellowjacket baseball team, it has been all-or-nothing since they've entered WIAC competition. Outside of a day-one doubleheader split with UW-Platteville, the Yellowjackets have either swept or been swept each day in the WIAC. A week ago the Yellowjackets traveled to La Crosse and took a pair from the host Eagles. Today, La Crosse turned the tables, taking both games of the doubleheader and making the last eight games of the season supremely important for the Yellowjackets.

Game 1
La Crosse 8, Yellowjackets 6
Box Score

Every time the Yellowjackets established a lead in the opener, the Eagles had an answer. When the Yellowjackets finally built a multi-run lead, they again let the Eagle knot the game without delay, before having things slip away late in the contest.

Robbie Veith (Brainerd, Minn./Brainerd) led off the game reaching on an error and quickly stole second. Two hitters later TJ Evanson (Lakeville, Minn./Lakeville North) singled to left field to give the Yellowjackets the 1-0 lead. In the bottom of the inning La Crosse came right back and tied the game against Yellowjacket starter Kyle Gauger (Spooner, Wis./Spooner). Josh Rowles coaxed a leadoff walk and with one out in the inning, Adam Cordova, who would have a monster game, doubled to right field, bringing home Rowles with the tying run.

The Yellowjackets regained the lead in the top of the third inning when Sam Holden (Spooner, Wis./Spooner) walked, moved to third following a pair of ground outs and scored on a wild pitch. In the bottom of the inning La Crosse tied it up when Rowles led off with a single and came around to score on Cordova's single to make it 2-2.

La Crosse took its first lead of the game in the bottom of the fourth on an RBI single from Rowles. They added to it in the bottom of the fifth when Cordova, after picking up his third hit of the game, scored on a Trevor Burmeister single to lead 4-2.

In the top of the sixth the Yellowjackets rallied to regain the edge.

Brady Flaherty (Balsam Lake, Wis./Unity) was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning and Jeff Miller (Minneapolis, Minn./Washburn) followed with a single. After a sacrifice bunt moved both runners into scoring position, Tony Remund (Andover, Minn./Coon Rapids) singled to pull the Yellowjackets to within one. Two batters later, Sam Holden (Spooner, Wis./Spooner) singled through the right side with the bases loaded, scoring two and giving the Yellowjackets the lead. Tyler Duex (Chippewa Falls, Wis./Chippewa Falls) scored two hitters later when Wyatt Soderquist (Cambridge, Minn./Cambridge-Isanti) reached on an error to give the Yellowajckets a 6-4 edge.

But once again the Eagles came back to tie it in the bottom of the inning.

Jordan DeBoer singled to lead off the inning and Rowles followed with a walk. The runners were bunted into scoring position and with one out Cole Cefalu produced a sacrifice fly and Jake Paulson followed with a single to tie the game.

The Eagles staged a two-out rally in the last of the eighth inning to grab the late lead and seal the game.

After the first two hitters were retired by reliever Travis Elwood (Ramsey, Minn./Anoka), Cefalu doubled to left field. Cordova was intentionally walked for the second time in the game and Paulson was then hit by a pitch to load the bases. Next up was Brooks Braga and he pushed a single through the left side, bringing home the two lead runners to make it a 6-4 game.

The Yellowjackets threatened in the ninth, getting the tying run on base, but they were unable to plate the equalizer.

Remund had a three-hit game for the Yellowjackets, who had 10 hits in the game. Tom Fairbanks (Brainerd, Minn./Brainerd) and Evanson each went 2-for-4.

Gauger went four innings, allowing four earned runs on seven hits with two walks. Jake Lewis (Proctor, Minn./Proctor) allowed two earned runs on two hits in an inning-and-two-thirds. Elwood went the rest of the way and was tagged with the loss, falling to 1-4 on the year after allowing two runs on three hits with a walk and two strikeouts.

Cordova went 3-for-3, scored twice and drove in two for the Eagles.

Skyler Debilzen was the winning pitcher for La Crosse, improving to 1-0 on the season.

Game 2
La Crosse 9, Yellowjackets 2
Box Score

The first game of the day was as tight as could possibly be, and the Eagles had no intention of letting the Yellowjackets stick around that long in the nightcap, blowing it open in the first inning and cruising to the win.

Just like he did in the first game, Veith reached base to lead off the game and quickly stole second and two hitters later Evanson brought him around to score and the Yellowjackets were on the board.

But in the bottom of the inning the Eagles had their way with starter Graham Miller (Cumberland, Wis./Cumberland), not letting him out of the inning and taking a commanding early lead.

Cordova picked up where he left off, singling in his first at bat and tying the game at 1-1. Later, Brett Jacobson singled to right field, plating two more runners. Following a wild pitch and a Nic Barnes single, the Eagles built up a 5-1 lead and chased Miller from the game after just two-thirds of an inning. Alex Beers (Robbinsdale, Minn./Robbinsdale Armstrong) came out of the bullpen and finally closed out the first inning.

In the bottom of the fourth inning, Paulson singled with the bases loaded, scoring two more and the La Crosse lead bulged to 7-1.

After the seventh inning stretch, La Crosse added two more runs without getting a hit in the inning, to push the lead to 9-1.

The Yellowjackets scored their final run of the game in the top of the eighth. Soderquist walked with one out and Evanson followed with a double to put two runners in scoring position. Jeff Miller followed with a sacrifice fly to score Soderquist and make the final score 9-2.

Evanson led the charge for the Yellowjackets, going 3-for-3, which accounted for half of the Yellowjacket hits, and driving in a run.

Graham Miller was tagged with the loss, giving up five earned runs in two-thirds of an inning. Beers had a solid relief stint, pitching five-and-a-third innings and allowing two runs (zero earned) on four hits with a walk and three strikeouts. Riley Granson, Michael Doescher (Wausau, Wis./Wausau West) and Aaron Martin (Hayward, Wis./Hayward) combined to pitch the two innings.

For La Crosse, Jacobson and Rowles each went 2-for-3 as the Eagles had nine hits. Jacobson scored a run and drove in two while Rowles scored twice and drove in one.

Tim Verthein was the winning pitcher, improving to 2-5 on the year.

The Yellowjackets (14-17, 7-9 WIAC) will play a doubleheader at UW-Stevens Point on Saturday, April 27 beginning at 12:00 p.m.