Rholl, bullpen lead Woodchucks to win in second half opener
The Wisconsin Woodchucks scored three runs on two hits in the first inning Wednesday night in Fond du Lac. They tallied just two hits the rest of the ballgame, but another quality start and more shutdown work from the bullpen led Wisconsin (15-20; 1-0) to a 3-1 win over the Fond du Lac Dock Spiders (16-20; 0-1) at Herr-Baker Field.
Walks had hurt Fond du Lac starter Ryan Connolly in the past, and they did him in in short order Wednesday night. He walked Ivan Nunez to begin the game and Brylie Ware doubled to put two men in scoring position with one out. Hunter Coleman grounded out to score Nunez to put the Chucks on the board. Logan Foster walked and Brady Lindsly followed with a single to move Foster to third and score Ware. Then Lindsly stole second and Foster came home on the catcher’s throw down to make it 3-0 Woodchucks.
Connolly threw 36 pitches to get through the first, which meant he wouldn’t be allowed to pitch the second. Kyle Huckaby entered and allowed a one-out single to Thomas Hughes in the second. He didn’t allow another baserunner until the sixth, throwing eight innings of shutout ball to give his offense a chance to make the comeback.
But the Wisconsin pitching staff wouldn’t let the Dock Spider offense make the comeback. Walks had been a big problem for Chucks starter Kellen Rholl in the past, but he was lights out Wednesday, limiting the Dock Spiders to just one run on three hits with four strikeouts and only two walks over six innings of work. The run came in the sixth when Luke Mangieri walked and scored on a double play.
That made it 3-1, but Fond du Lac would not come closer. An error put a baserunner on in the seventh against Andreas Papageorge, but he got a strikeout and a pair of popouts to notch a scoreless frame. Lenny Gwizdala followed suit with a perfect eighth. That set the stage for Orsen Josephina, who recorded a flyout and pair of strikeouts in the ninth to tally his league-leading 11th save of the season, icing the 3-1 Wisconsin win.
Wisconsin finally heads home to Athletic Park for its first game in Wausau in the month of July. Drew Hanson will lead the Woodchucks against Tristan Baker and the Dock Spiders starting at 6:35 PM.
Tickets are on sale to all Wisconsin Woodchucks home games and the 2017 Northwoods League Home Run Derby and All-Star Game, presented by Ascension. Tickets can be purchased online, by calling715.845.5055 or by stopping by the Woodchucks front office during normal business hours.