By Cooper Perkins, Rafters broadcaster,
Following a shutout victory over the winless Thunder Bay Border Cats (0-10), the Wisconsin Rapids Rafters (6-3) swung their way to a 15–2 victory and cemented a two-game sweep over the ‘Cats on Thursday night. All nine Rafter starters recorded at least one hit in the lopsided victory and lifted the club’s winning streak to four games.
In search of his first hit of the season, designated hitter Jacson McGowan (Purdue University) finally broke through with an RBI double in the second inning to score the first run of the game. Catcher Rob Calabrese (Illinois-Chicago), the next hitter, increased the lead to 2-0 with an RBI single and set in motion a phenomenal night for the New York native. His second-inning RBI double marked just the first of four runs batted for Calabrese. Border Cat starting pitcher Dan McBryan would be knocked from the game after recording only three outs and surrendering six runs, continuing Thunder Bay’s pitching woes.
Joey Burris, who relieved McBryan, fell victim to a similar fate as his predecessor, as Brandon Polizzi (Cal State Dominguez Hills) and Jake Lumley(Canisius College) each added runs batted in to give the Rafters a 4-0 lead.
For the second consecutive outing, Rafters’ starter Chris Cooper (Texas A&M Corpus Christi) was offered tremendous run support in route to earning his second victory. The biggest threat against Cooper came in the form of a bases loaded fourth inning jam. The right-hander limited the damage by allowing just one run to come across on Johnny Juarez sacrifice fly. The Border Cats’ fourth inning run would prove to be the only blemish on Chris Cooper’s dominant six-inning start, in which he struck out four hitters.
In the victory, the Rafters received a breakout performance from Jacson McGowan, who went 2-for-3 with a pair of runs scored and two runs batted in. Additionally, second baseman Drew McLaughlin (Dixie State) proved to be one of the few Rafter hitters to play all nine innings and posted a four-hit game in the process.
With the conclusion of the two-game series between these two clubs, the Rafters will now travel to Madison tomorrow to take on the Mallards with first pitch on tap at 7:05 PM.
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