Express Sweep Rebels, Advance to North Finals
STRASBURG SURGES EARLY, EXTENDS LATE AS EXPRESS ROLLS TO 10-5 GAME 1 VICTORY OVER REBELS
Strasburg took control early, withstood a Rebel rally in the middle innings, then pulled away late...winning game 1 of the North Division semifinals 10-5 at First Bank Park on Sunday night.
1st Team All VBL pitcher Rhett Lowder started on the bump for Strasburg. Dealing with an illness throughout the game, Lowder battled through 5 innings for the Express and earned the win in the process. Lowder would allow only 2 earned runs on 4 hits while striking out 5.
Starting with the top of the 6th, the Express bullpen would take control. Braden Ostrander (FAU) worked through the 6th with Keegan Allen (Oklahoma) tossing a scoreless 7th, striking out 2. Geo Rivera (Walters State) finished the game, throwing the 8th and the 9th while striking out 2 batters and allowing 0 hits.
Offensively the Express were paced by Ryan Galanie (Wofford), going 2-for-5 with 2 runs scored, a RBI and 2 stolen bases. Tripp McKinlay (St. Johns River State), Cam Irvine (High Point) and Mac McCroskey (Oral Roberts) would each have 2 hits on the evening, with McCroskey having a 2B and RBI while McKinlay had 2 stolen bases. Brayton Brown (Auburn) had 2-run home run while JJ Sousa (St. Johns River State) had a solo shot of his own in the 7th. Wrapping up the offensive effort was Ty Hooks (Winthrop) with a 2 run double in the 2nd inning.
EXPRESS DEFEAT REBELS, ADVANCE TO NORTH DIVISION FINALS
In the playoffs you get no style points, and the 4 hour game on Tuesday night wasn't the prettiest at times. But Strasburg pulled ahead early, withstood a fierce Rebel storm in the middle innings, then extended late and cruised to the finish line. The 13-7 win over the host New Market Rebels clinched the North Division Semifinal matchup.
The arms were dominant again for Strasburg. Jacob Cravey (Samford) got the start, throwing 4 innings and allowing only 1 earned run while striking out 10. Robert Kelley (Potomac State) entered in the midst of a huge jam in the 5th and seamlessly navigated, proceeding to throw 2.1 scoreless innings allowing only 1 base runner and striking out 4...earning the win in the process. Keegan Allen (Oklahoma) would close out the contest, striking out 6 batters over the last 2 innings.
The staff, as a whole, recorded 21 of 27 outs tonight via the strikeout, their highest K% of the season.
On the offensive side the bats were incredibly consistent this evening, crossing home plate in 7 of the 9 frames. They were led by a monster night from Eric Toth (Presbyterian College). Toth went 3-for-5 with a home run, 4 RBI, 2 runs scored and a stolen base. Graham Brown (Potomac State) would go 2-for-5 with a huge 2 out, 2 run double in the first inning. He would go on to score twice and steal a base.
Rounding out the offensive attack was Ryan Galanie (Wofford), who would go 2-for-3 with 3 runs scored, 3 walks and 2 stolen bases. Brayton Brown (Auburn) would add 2 hits of his own to go with 3 runs scored and a walk. Tripp McKinlay (St. Johns River State College) also had 2 hits and a RBI. Cameron Clonch (ECU) and Mac McCroskey (Oral Roberts) each had a knock, with Clonch walking and scoring twice while McCroskey had a RBI, run scored and stolen base.