WISCONSIN RAPIDS, Wis. (WSAU-Woodchucks) - The Wisconsin Woodchucks used a combination of timely hitting and shutdown pitching to defeat the Wisconsin Rapids Rafters 5-3 on Thursday night.
The Woodchucks would start the game off with a bang in the top of the first. With Tyler Stieb on second and one out, Jake Jefferies hit his second homerun of the series and fourth homerun of the week over the left field wall to make it 2-0 Woodchucks early.
The score would remain 2-0 all the way until the bottom of the fourth before the Rafters got on the board against Woodchucks starter Ryan McCarthy. With runners on second and third and one out, Derek Peake grounded out to second base, but the groundout was deep enough to score Robbie Coman from third and make it a 2-1 game. The tying run would score on a base hit by Zach Belanger, who was then thrown out at second base by right fielder Rob Bennie trying to stretch the single into a double.
That would be all that McCarthy would allow in the game. The right-hander went five innings, allowing only those two runs on five hits with three strikeouts in the outing.
The Woodchucks would reclaim the lead in the fifth as Jefferies recorded his seventh RBI of the series. With Rucker on second, Jefferies singled, giving the Woodchucks a 3-2 lead. Jefferies would then leave due to an injury, finishing 2-2 with a home run and three RBI’s.
The Woodchucks would add some insurance in the sixth. Brandon Krieg was on third with two outs when Rafters pitcher Brandon Schmidt uncorked a wild pitch to the backstop, allowing Krieg to score and putting the ‘Chucks on top 4-2.
The Rafters would cut that lead in half in the bottom of the sixth. After a Peake triple, Zach Belanger singled to center to plate Peake and make it 4-3 in favor of the ‘Chucks.
The ‘Chucks would tack on some insurance in the ninth as Stieb clubbed his first career collegiate home run over the right field wall to make it 5-3. The Woodchucks would not need the run, though, as Max Ising came on to shut the door for his sixth save of the season and 12th of his Northwoods League career.
The series will head to Wausau tomorrow for the final game of a three-game set. First pitch is scheduled for 6:35 p.m. with a fireworks show to follow the final out.
Listen to the Woodchucks on Fox Sports Wausau, WRIG 1390 AM and 93.9 FM.