Big Sticks take two out of three from Mining City
As the second half of Expedition League play got underway this past weekend, the Big Sticks visited the Tommyknockers.
There were no off days over the holiday weekend for Badlands as they looked to take three more games from the Tommyknockers, something they did a week ago in Dickinson when they swept their fellow Lewis division foe.
The Big Sticks (19-14) came into this series fresh off a midweek split against the Casper Horseheads, which would be the only time two sides would meet in the regular season.
It wasn’t a sweep this time around, but the Big Sticks did take two of three games over the weekend, improving their record to 5-1 over the Tommyknockers (18-17) so far this season.
The opening game on Friday went to Mining City 6-4 despite the Big Sticks out-hitting the hosts 9-8. The Tommyknockers built up a 6-1 lead in the fourth inning as Badlands struggled to get going, registering only two hits through five.
One of the hits was a solo home run from Angel De La Cruz in the fourth inning, his third of the summer. He was 3-for-3 in his at-bats in this game. Ryan Stafford added two RBI.
Parker Stohr pitched six innings with ten strikeouts and gave up four earned runs and six runs overall. His ERA this season is 3.67 and has pitched at least five innings in each of his last five starts.
After Mining City defeated the Big Sticks for the first time this season, Badlands were able to put up double digits in the hit department in the next two games.
In a 6-3 victory on Saturday, the Big Sticks had thirteen hits with three different players; Stafford, Travis Ray Jr. and Wyatt Setian, collecting three hits each. For Stafford and Ray Jr., it was the third time for both this summer achieving that mark, while it was Setian’s first.
Badlands tied it up 2-2 in the second before putting up four runs combined in the fourth and fifth innings.
Three runs were scratched across in the fifth, highlighted by De La Cruz’ RBI double. Earlier in the game, Joe Osborn had a two-run home run, his eighth of the season, the highest mark for Badlands.
Josh Tucker went five innings, striking out six, but also issued six walks. Across his six starts this summer, he has a 3.12 ERA with a team-high 52 strikeouts.
The series wrapped up on the Fourth of July as the Big Sticks put up fourteen more hits en route to a 10-5 win. After being down 5-2 after four innings, six runs by Badlands in the fifth powered them to victory.
The innings started off with a two-run home run from Osborn again, his ninth of the season. Matt Olive had a two-run double while De La Cruz chipped in an RBI with a sacrifice fly. He had four RBI total in the game batting cleanup.
Joe Harris picked up the win going seven innings with five strikeouts. It was the deepest he had gone into a game this season.
The Big Sticks now sit four games back of the Souris Valley Sabre Dogs (24-11), who will come to Dakota Community Bank and Trust Ballpark for a two game set starting Tuesday.