Baseball Raiders half-game out of first in BRCSenior outfielder Drew Pheneger drove in the go-ahead run with a sacrifice fly in the top of the eighth inning, then threw out the potential tying run at the plate in the bottom of the inning to cap a game-ending double play and give the Raider baseball team a 5-4 Big Rivers Conference win at River Falls last Friday, April 20.
By: Bob Burrows, Hudson Star-Observer
Senior outfielder Drew Pheneger drove in the go-ahead run with a sacrifice fly in the top of the eighth inning, then threw out the potential tying run at the plate in the bottom of the inning to cap a game-ending double play and give the Raider baseball team a 5-4 Big Rivers Conference win at River Falls last Friday, April 20.
Earlier in the week the Raiders split a doubleheader at Menomonie, winning the first game, 16-7, before suffering their first BRC loss of the season in the nightcap, 11-4.
The Raiders sit one-half game behind Eau Claire North for first place in the BRC at 3-1 in conference play (5-3 overall). After hosting Rice Lake (1-2, 3-5) this past Tuesday, Hudson and Eau Claire North (3-0, 5-2) will square off in a pivotal BRC contest Friday at Carson Park in Eau Claire.
With the score tied 4-4 after seven innings last Friday in River Falls, the Raiders got a run in the top of the eighth when Josh Evenson doubled, moved to third on a sacrifice bunt by Charlie Altman, and scored on a sacrifice fly by Pheneger.
River Falls loaded the bases with one out in the bottom of the eighth when Wildcat senior Ryan Kusilek hit a fly ball to center field that Pheneger caught for the second out of the inning. Pheneger than fired a one-hop strike to catcher Miles Lewis in time to get River Falls’ senior Spencer Kempf trying to tag up for the final out of the game.
“What a defensive play to end the game,” Raider head coach Ryan Huppert said. “Drew made one heck of a throw right on the money and Miles made a nice catch and tag to get the runner out trying to score.”
Hudson took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first when Kellen Pearson doubled in Mike Hommes, who had led off the game with a walk.
The Raiders scored three more runs in the second, highlighted by a two-run single by Austin Evenson, to take a 4-0 lead, but the Wildcats cut the gap to 4-3 heading into the bottom of the seventh.
The Wildcats scored an unearned run in the bottom of the seventh and had the bases loaded with no outs, but Brett Steinwagner, in relief of starter Kellen Pearson, was able to work out of the jam and keep the score tied.
Pearson worked the first six innings and allowed two earned runs on eight hits while striking out four and walking two. Steinwagner earned the win in one inning of relief, while Mike Hommes allowed one hit and walked two in the eighth to pick up the save.
Pearson and Josh Evenson had three hits each, including a double, while Hommes doubled, drove in a run and scored twice and Austin Evenson had two singles and two RBI.
Last Tuesday at Menomonie, Todd Mork had two hits, including a two-run home run and drove in four runs, and Hommes was 3-for-5 with a double, triple and three RBI in the Raiders’ 16-7 victory over the Mustangs in the first game of a doubleheader.
Steinwagner also had three hits, including a double, and scored four times and Chuck Peterson was 2-for-4 with a double while Pearson tripled, scored twice and drove in a run.
Starter Stef Smith was credited with the win on the mound after giving up six earned runs on four hits with three strikeouts and four walks in three innings of work. Hommes allowed one earned run in three innings of work while Steinwagner pitched a scoreless seventh.
In the nightcap, Pheneger doubled in a pair of runs to highlight a three-run second inning that gave the Raiders a 3-0 lead, but six Hudson errors led to eight unearned runs for Menomonie, and the Mustangs went on to an 11-4 victory.
Mork and Austin Evenson had an RBI each in the game while Josh Evenson was tagged with the loss after allowing seven runs, just three earned, on six hits with three strikeouts and four walks in 3 1/3 innings on the mound.