Facing the Red Sox in Regina in a modified doubleheader on Friday – the first game was resumed from a July 25 rain delay in the bottom of the third inning tied 2-2 – the Express picked up an 11-8 victory before falling 12-2 in seven innings in game two. They were then back in action on Saturday against the Weyburn Beavers and took the lead into the ninth inning before falling 9-8 at Ross Wells Park.
The Express now sit with a 26-27 record and will officially finish fourth in the Eastern Division. Their first-round playoff opponent will be either the first-place Red Sox (38-15) or Swift Current 57’s (37-17) depending on which team finishes in first place in the division.
Express 11, Red Sox 8
The Express did the majority of their damage in the fifth inning, sending 14 batters to the plate and scoring eight runs on five hits and a pair of errors.
Michael Borst reached base twice in the inning and scored a run while Alex Orenczuk knocked home their sixth and seventh runs of the frame with a single in his second trip to the plate.
Borst finished the game with a pair of runs scored, while Cole Warken went 3-for-5 at the plate and also scored two runs. Zach Campbell, Ty Lightley and Darrel Doll all had two hits each.
Reece Helland picked up the game in the third inning and enjoyed one of his best performances of the season, holding Regina to a pair of runs on three hits while striking out a pair. Ethan Soroka, Nathan Slobodian, Jaden Hofmann and Jack Gamba all saw action over the final three innings, with Gamba closing out the contest to earn the save.
Regina 12, Express 2
The nightcap saw the Express run into Regina starter Michael Batten, with less than positive results for the visitors.
Batten tossed six innings, holding the Express to a single run on five hits while striking out 11 to take the win.
Michael Ross was nearly his equal through his three innings of work, giving up a pair of runs – one earned – on two hits and three strikeouts. Reliever Nick Falco wouldn’t be able to keep the mound momentum going, though, as Regina scored five runs in the fourth inning to take control of the game. Falco surrendered seven runs on five hits and five walks in his 1 1/3 innings of work before giving way to Nico Portillo, who finished the game and gave up two runs on two hits.
Of the 12 runs Regina scored, nine were earned as the Express committed four errors through the night.
Borst was the lone offensive bright spot with a solo home run to lead off the seventh inning.
Weyburn 9, Express 8
Gamba experienced something Saturday night he hadn’t seen all season as a reliever with the Express – a run crossing the plate with him on the mound.
The Beavers took advantage of a hit by pitch, walk and an error to load the bases before Nolan Machibroda cleared the bags when he himself reached on a defensive miscue with two outs.
The end result saw Weyburn overcome an 8-6 deficit heading into the final frame while at the same time maintaining Gamba’s perfect 0.00 earned run average – all three runs he allowed were unearned due to the errors, while the only real statistical damage was to his WHIP, which rose a 10th of a point from 0.82 to 0.83.
After a light night in the second game against Regina, Warken was back swinging away on Saturday, going 3-for-6 with an RBI. Tucker Zdunich was 2-for-4 with a run and two RBI, Andres Garza also knocked in a pair.
Michael Borst got the start on the mound and gave up six runs on six hits over four innings before reliever Matt Jackson tossed four stellar innings of relief, holding Regina to a single walk while striking out five.
The Express close out the home portion of the regular season with a doubleheader Sunday against Weyburn, with game one at 4 p.m. at Ross Wells Park and game two following at 7 p.m. Both contests will be seven innings.