Club baseball goes 2-0 at Stout
Team captains junior Todd Bennett and seniors Colin Clark and Ryan Conant came into their Tuesday doubleheader against UW-Stout with hopes of showing up their local rival.
The Eau Claire men’s club baseball team won both seven-inning games at Stout, which was ranked No. 10 nationally in the preseason polls.
In the opening game, Eau Claire scored 13 runs to Stout’s three to claim victory. Sophomore Curt Hartfiel hit a perfect three-for-three from the plate. Sophomore Chip Marty went two-for-three including two RBIs.
“It was a great job by the younger guys to step up and make some great plays at crucial times,” coach Jeff Dykes said. “We played well from both at the plate and on the field.”
Dykes said he was impressed with how many positives the younger players have brought to this team.
“The strong, mature play from the younger guys makes this team a sure contender for the No. 1 seed in the conference tournament,” he said.
Conant added three RBIs to his season statistics as he ripped two home runs in the game. His first was a solo shot and the second brought a baserunner in.
Sophomore pitcher Zach Najacht gave up only one earned run in five innings. Najacht gave up five hits and walked two. Senior Nick Wiegert pitched a two-inning save to allow Stout only two hits, allowing no earned runs.
Game two was a closer game with the same outcome. Eau Claire scored one less run than in game one but still came away victorious, 12-7.
Conant continued his home run streak with a grand slam home run to top off the batting highlights for Eau Claire. Conant came away from the doubleheader with three home runs and seven RBIs.
Sophomore Jay Hebert was consistent with his own bat as he went threefor-four. Senior Eric Koosmann had three RBIs as he and Clark went two for four.
“We just demoralized Stout from the start,” Clark said. “We never let them in the game. We sent a message to the Chippewa Valley on how good Eau Claire baseball truly is.”
Sophomore Jim Karpe gave up only two hits and a walk throughout five innings.
Karpe also struck out four Stout batters. As in the first game, Wiegert came in to finish off the job and add another save to his season list. He gave up five hits in two innings to close the deal for Eau Claire.
Having both a junior varsity and varsity team, the club team from Eau Claire faces both levels of competition. Dykes said this team is stepping up its own level of play.
“We are playing at a varsity level,” Dykes said. “We proved that as we played and beat a solid, ranked team like Stout.”
The varsity club team will continue with its busy schedule of doubleheaders as it starts by hosting the Chippewa Falls Lumberjacks 7:30 p.m. today at Carson Park.
The team then hosts Tilden for another nine-inning game at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Carson Park. It will travel to Madison on Saturday to play the Northwestern Wildcats in a seven-inning doubleheader and will stay in Madison for another doubleheader against Loyola on Saturday.
For club’s player stats, click here.