EAU CLAIRE, Wis. — The La Crosse Loggers, who had lost three of their last four games, entered the top of the ninth trailing the Eau Claire Express by three runs Thursday night.

No problem.

La Crosse rallied for four runs, thanks to homers by Ryan Mantle and David Villar, to stun the Express 9-8 before 804 fans at Carson Park.

The victory evened the Loggers second-half mark at 1-1, and pushed their overall record to 15-21. Eau Claire fell to 1-1 in the second half, 16-22 overall. La Crosse returns to Copeland Park today for a 7:05 p.m. battle with the Duluth Huskies (17-20).

The Loggers appeared in big trouble in the top of the ninth, but Express reliever Victor Chavez hit the first two batters, Luke Rasmussen and Kennie Taylor, putting runners on first and second. Ryan Mantle, a sophomore infielder from Jefferson Community College, then belted a three-run home run to knot the game at 8.

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Ryan Mantle Mug

Mantle

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David Villar MUG

Villar

The fireworks continued as the next batter, Villar, smashed a solo home run for what proved to be the winning run.

Peter Hamot, a 6-foot-4, 215-pound right-hander from Lewis College, then pitched a scoreless ninth inning to earn the save.

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