The Brainerd Blue Thunder completed a two-game sweep of the St. Cloud Riverbats as they won 6-3 Saturday at Mills Field for their second win in a row and improved their second-half record to 3-3.
Sunday's game against the Duluth Huskies was postponed due to rain. The two teams will play two seven-inning games Monday starting at 5:05 p.m.
St. Cloud built a 3-0 lead through four innings before the Blue Thunder's cleanup hitter Xavier Scruggs struck with a leadoff home run, his sixth round tripper of the year to make the score 3-1.
In the bottom of the fifth Brainerd blew the game open with four runs on six hits. Ryan Lipkin opened the inning with a double and moved to third on Jared McDonald's single. Andy Dirks followed with a single to score Lipkin and shortstop Ben Orloff had the fourth-consecutive hit in the inning with a single to plate McDonald.
Xavier Scruggs homered and had two RBIs
Scruggs then singled for his second hit and second RBI of the game as Dirks scored. Orloff later scored on fielder's choice by Patrick Rose to give Brainerd a 5-3 lead.
The Blue Thunder added an insurance run in the sixth when Andy Dirks walked, stole second and advanced to third on a Riverbats' error. After Scruggs walked, Clay Cuno delivered a single to left field to plate Dirks and give the Blue Thunder a 6-3 lead.
That was all the lead the Blue Thunder pitching staff would need. Starter William Blackmon worked 5 2-3 innings, giving up three runs on five hits with a strikeout and three walks to earn his first win of the season.
Ben Orloff went 2-for-4
Brainerd relievers Eric Anderson, Bryan Evans and Bryan Westphal combined to hold the Riverbats to just three hits over the final 3 1-3 innings, which culminated in Westphal picking up his fifth save of the season.
St. Cloud 101 100 000 - 3 8 1
Brainerd 000 141 00X - 6 12 1
St. Cloud: Michael Hill, Adam Kramer (4), Robbie Weinhardt (5), Kurtis Frymier (7) and Dylan Tonneson. Brainerd: William Blackmon, Eric Anderson (6), Bryan Evans (8), Bryan Westphal (9) and Ryan Lipkin. W: Blackmon (1-3). L: Kramer (0-2). Sv: Westphal (5).
The Blue Thunder's William Blackmon picked up the win Saturday at Mills Field. Brainerd Dispatch/Trevor Williams » Purchase reprints of this photo.
2B: Brd-Lipkin. HR: Brd-Xavier Scruggs. SB: Brd-Andy Dirks, Patrick Rose. RBI: Brd-Dirks, Ben Orloff, Scruggs 2, Clay Cuno, Rose; SC-M. Fanelli 2, A. Yeager. LOB: Brd 11, SC 8. DP: Brd 1, SC 1.
Time: 3:04. Attendance: 539. Overall: Brd 3-3 (14-26), SC 2-4 (23-17). Next: Brd hosts Duluth (2) at Mills Field 5:05 p.m. Monday
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