Bullpen Falters in Loss to Bullfrogs
By Cooper Perkins Special to the City Times
Tuesday night offered the Wisconsin Rapids Rafters (28-15, 4-3) an unpleasant conclusion to their five-game road trip, as they fell to the Green Bay Bullfrogs (18-25, 3-4) by a final score of 12-4 at Joannes Stadium. Despite an early power surge, the Rafter bats quieted in the late innings and the bullpen endured a rare stumble in route to allowing 12 of the game’s final 13 runs.
The Rafters wasted little time in opening the game’s scoring, plating a run in the top of the first inning on a solo home run from Ben Fisher (Eastern Kentucky), his sixth of the season. The next inning, Dustin Woodcock (SIU-Edwardsville) drove a 3-2 pitch from Matt Ellenbest over the right field wall for his sixth of the year, scoring a pair and pushing the Rafter lead to 3-0 after the top of the second inning.
After a scoreless first inning, starting pitcher Damien Richard (Xavier) would record only two outs in the second inning before exiting the game in the midst of an 0-2 count to Colton Onstott. After delivering the 0-1 pitch, Richard exited the game due to unspecified arm discomfort and handed the ball to the previously dominant Rafter bullpen. Jeff Fasching (Minnesota), who would eventually absorb the loss, came on to finish the inning and proceeded to throw two scoreless innings.
Entering the bottom of the fifth inning, the Rafters owned a 3-0 lead, but watched it deteriorate as Fashcing and Cameron Busby (Georgia College) combined to allow five runs on five hits and an error. In the top of the sixth inning, Jake Lumley (Canisius) scored on an RBI groundout from Rob Calabrese (Illinois-Chicago) to cut the Rafters’ deficit to 5-4. Matters would complicate further for the Rafters in the ensuing inning, however, as the Bullfrogs struck for four more runs against Busby and pushed their lead to 9-4. The evening was the most frustrating of the summer for Busby, who was tagged for seven runs (all earned) on nine hits in two innings. Three more runs, two of which were unearned, came across in the bottom of the seventh inning to produce the game’s eventual final score. The loss snapped a streak of 22 consecutive wins when scoring four runs or more for the Rafters.
The Rafters will return to action Wednesday night at Witter Field, welcoming the Green Bay Bullfrogs to town for the final regular-season meeting between the two clubs. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 PM with gates opening to the public at 6:05 PM.