Down 8-3 in the ninth inning, the La Crosse Loggers seemed to be well on their way to their third straight loss Monday night at Copeland Park.
But David Villar and the Loggers’ offense had other ideas.
Villar hit a game-tying grand slam to cap off a five-run rally in the ninth inning to tie it, and that paved the way for Kennie Taylor to deliver the walk-off hit in the 10th as La Crosse beat Mankato 9-8.
After allowing just one run in 7⅔ innings on Sunday, the La Crosse Loggers’ bullpen couldn’t duplicate that success on Monday night. The relievers allowed six runs in 1⅔ innings to spoil a stellar outing from starter Garrett Christman. Christman went a season-high 7⅓ innings and tied a season-high seven strikeouts. Christman had his hard sinker working, as he allowed just two runs on five hits and walked one while producing a plethora of ground balls. He made just one mistake when he hung a 2-0 breaking ball to Mankato’s Logan Busch, who smashed it over the fence in right with two outs in the seventh.
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Christman left with one out in the eighth and a runner on first.
That’s when the troubles began for the Loggers. Joe Rosenstein struggled to throw strikes, allowing two runs to score in the eighth. In the ninth, the MoonDogs scored five runs on four hits off of Logger relievers Chris Boettcher and Charlie Fletcher to take a 8-3 lead.
The Loggers’ offense struggled for most of the night and was shut out until the eighth inning. That’s when Luke Rasmussen continued his impressive season by launching a three-run homer to right-center to tie the game at 3. It was the third home run and his 15th, 16th, and 17th RBI of the season in just his 15th game with the club.
The Loggers got the first four hitters on base in the ninth before Villar launched a 1-0 fastball over the wall in left field to send Copeland Park into a frenzy and the game into extras.
Taylor gave the Loggers the win when he lined a 2-2 breaking ball off the outfield wall.
With the win the Loggers move to 3-3 in the second half and host the Willmar Stingers at 7:05 p.m. today.