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Wildcats run BRC win streak to five

Wildcat senior Michael Wesner hits a sharp ground ball for an out in the sixth inning of the Cats’ 11-5 win over Rice Lake in the first game of a doubleheader last Friday at the high school field. Wesner had two hits, two RBI and scored twice in the win. (River Falls Journal photo by Bob Burrows)

The Wildcat baseball team swept a doubleheader from Chippewa Falls Tuesday, May 13, to run its Big Rivers Conference winning streak to five straight and solidify its hold on second place in the conference standings.

The Cats beat the Cardinals 3-1 in the first game before taking the nightcap, 12-2 in five innings.

River Falls entered the twin bill with a one game lead over Chippewa Falls. The Cats are now 7-2 in BRC play (13-2 overall). Hudson, who swept Rice Lake on Tuesday, moved into third place at 5-2 (7-7 overall). Sixth-ranked Eau Claire North sits all alone in first place at 9-0 in conference play.

Last week the Cats posted a 7-1 victory over Menomonie on Tuesday, May 6, before taking both games of a doubleheader with Rice Lake, 11-5 and 6-4, on Friday, May 9.

Last Tuesday at home against Menomonie, Kyle Duex had two hits and two RBI and Brady Stocker, Jake Halling and Logan Schmidt each drove in a run in a 7-1 win over the Mustangs.

James Witt picked up the complete game victory on the mound, allowing one unearned run on two hits with six strikeouts and four walks.

“I was pleased to see our boys bounce back with some determination coming off of the tough loss to North the night before,” head coach Ryan Bishop said. “James had another solid outing on the mound and the rest of the chips fell into place as the game went on.”

Friday, the Cats jumped out to a 7-1 third-inning lead in the first game of their doubleheader with Rice Lake and coasted to an 11-5 victory.

Mason Woiwode had a solo home run and finished with two RBI and Michael Wesner had two hits, including a double, and drove in two runs while Jon Krueger added a pair of hits and two RBI.

Sam Barr also had two hits, including an RBI double, and Witt went 3-for-3 at the plate while Duex, Stocker, Schmidt and Brian Grove drove in a run each.

“We came out swinging against their ace and took control of game one right from the start,” Bishop said.

Krueger earned the win on the mound, allowing two earned runs on three hits with five strikeouts and three walks. Bryce Lindevig worked the final two innings, allowing two earned runs on one hit with two walks.

Duex had three hits, including two doubles, and drove in two runs in the nightcap to lead the Cats to a 6-4 victory. Woiwode drove in two runs with a single and a double and Halling doubled twice while Wesner and Krueger had an RBI each.

Duex worked the first five innings, allowing two earned runs on six hits with five strikeouts and two walks to earn the victory. Halling struck out two and allowed one earned run in two innings of work.

“Game two challenged us as we still swung the bats pretty well, we just hit a lot of good balls at them and they made the plays,” Bishop said. “We had runners on base every inning, and were always one hit away from breaking the game open.  I was very pleased with our execution in game two as far as bunting and base running. I felt those two things played as big a role as anything in winning that game.”

After taking the first game against Chippewa Falls, 3-1, Krueger homered and doubled and Halling, Woiwode and Wesner all had two hits, including a double apiece, as the Cats completed the sweep with a 12-2 victory.

Halling earned the win on the mound in the opener while Witt took the win in the nightcap.

The Cats will host a Minnesota nonconference foe this week when East Ridge (Woodbury) comes to town for a 4:30 p.m. start Thursday, May 15. River Falls returns to BRC action at first-place Eau Claire North Tuesday, May 20, at 5 p.m. at Carson Park in Eau Claire.

Bob Burrows
Bob Burrows has been sports editor at the River Falls Journal since 1996 and at the Hudson Star-Observer since 2009. Prior to joining the Journal, Burrows served as sports editor with Ledger Publications in Balsam Lake, Wis. A native of Bayonne, N.J. and a U.S. Navy veteran, Burrows attended Marquette University before completing his studies at UW-River Falls in 1992.
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