(MUSKEGON, MI) – After enjoying a couple of off days, the St Clair Green Giants were back in action against the Muskegon Clippers on Sunday, dropping a 6-4 decision. Starting Giants pitcher Austen Bullington was credited with the loss as the squad quickly fell behind 4-0 in the bottom of the 1st.
St Clair halved the deficit by scoring 2 in the 4th, but Bullington gave up two more Clippers runs in the Muskegon half of the inning and was yanked with 2 outs. Reliever Stephen Rausa came in for the remaining 3.1 innings, giving up just 1 hit and striking out 5.
The Green Giants couldn’t get any closer than 2 runs in the 7th. Adam Tanoue held the hot bat for St Clair as he went 3-for-4, scoring a run, and batting in two.
Monday night the Green Giants didn’t fare much better as they couldn’t hold a lead against the Clippers.
Muskegon again put 2 across the plate to open the scoring in their half of the 2nd inning. St Clair broke open the game with 4 runs in the 5th to take the lead, but the Clippers came right back with 3 runs to go on top.
In the 6th, St Clair drove in 3 runs to establish a 7-5 lead, but once again Muskegon bounced back in bottom of the inning to tie the game at 7. The teams battled through the next two frames without a run until St Clair threatened in the 9th.
After Tanoue struck out swinging, two walks issued to Nick Enrico and Matt Deneau put the go-ahead run in scoring position. But, a put out on a fielder’s choice and another swinging strike out nullified the chance.
With 2 outs in the bottom of the 9th, the Clippers’ Wyatt Featherston stroked a single to score Nolan Bryant with the winning run.
Left-handed starter Brad Verel, of Broken Arrow, OK, had an uncharacteristic poor outting, giving up 5 earned runs on 5 hits over 4.2 innings, and issuing 3 base on balls while striking out 3. The Giants used 4 more pitchers over the next 4 innings with closer Kevin Kyle giving up the winning run with it being credited to Justin Culligan.
Deneau picked up his 1st home run of the year as the catcher went 1-for-3 with 2 RBIs and a run. Jalen Thomas and Jesse Gonzales each batted 3-for5 to raise their batting averages to .412 and .311 respectively.
On Tuesday, the Green Giants returned home to the friendly confines of Lacasse Field in Tecumseh to meet the Grand River Loggers. St Clair Shores, MI, native Hunter Brown was credited with the win as the Green Giants doubled up the Loggers 8-4. Brown spread 5 hits over 6 innings without giving up a run to stake St Clair to a 7-0 lead.
Grand River scored 2 in the 7th and a pair more in the 9th, but couldn’t get any closer.
Pitching for the second straight night, Culligan gave up the final 2 Loggers runs while facing 6 batters.
Second baseman Enrico was 3-for-3 at the plate, scoring 2 of St Clair’s 8 runs. Roberto Duncan also crossed the plate twice in 3 at bats for the Green Giants.
Despite the losses to Muskegon, St Clair enjoys a 2.5 game lead over the Clippers in 1st place of the GLSCL Northern Division. Grand River sits 3 games back of the Green Giants.
The two teams are back at Lacasse tonight for the 2nd in a 2-game series. The first pitch is at 7:05pm.