It’s hard to win in baseball when you don’t throw strikes.
The La Crosse Loggers did their best to try and dispel this theory, but to no avail Saturday night at Copeland Park. The Loggers pitching staff surrendered nine walks and a HBP in addition to 17 hits while the defense committed five errors as the Loggers fell to the Duluth Huskies 14-9 in front of 2,774 fans.
The Loggers were cruising early. After the Huskies took a 2-0 lead through three innings, the Loggers answered with a six-run third inning that was highlighted by newcomer Matt Morimoto’s three-run homer to right-center.
Making his Loggers debut, the junior from the University of Arizona quickly endeared himself to the Logger faithful by reaching base four times while going 2-for-3 with three RBI.
But the pitching couldn’t hold the lead.
The Huskies scored three in the fourth to chase Logger starter Cody Ebert, who was charged with five runs on eight hits in four innings.
The Huskies tied it in the fifth before taking the lead with back-to-back, bases-loaded walks off of Logger reliever Sam Messina in the sixth. Messina would walk four in the inning and the Huskies capitalized, scoring two more in the sixth to take a 10-6 lead.
“They do have a good offense and swung the bats well tonight,” Logger manager Brian Lewis said. “But our bullpen came in and really helped them out by walking guys and giving them the extra 90 feet. That’s just something we can’t do. Our pitching staff was just a little bit off.
“I felt bad for Sam, out there trying to battle through it and he’s a great kid, but it was just tough for him tonight.”
The Loggers’ offense did their best to keep them in it, smashing a pair of home runs and compiling 12 hits.
“The offense is rolling along pretty well,” Lewis said. “I’m pretty comfortable with it, we got a lot of good hitters on this team. Very happy with the offense. Pitching staff had been really good lately for us, but it was just one of those nights that it didn’t work out.”
Eight of the nine Logger starters recorded a hit. Luke Rasmussen went 2-for-3 with a solo homer in the eighth while Cameron Cannon and Jake Hirabayashi each tallied a pair of hits.
The Loggers had a chance to tie the game in the seventh with runners on second and third trailing 10-8. But Cameron Cannon grounded out before David Villar struck out to end the rally.
The Loggers are back in action at 5:05 p.m. today against the Mankato MoonDogs at Copeland Park.