Down 1-0 after five innings, La Crosse blew the game open with five runs in the sixth and five in the seventh to roll past the Bismarck Larks 9-3 on Friday night.
With the win, the Loggers remained in the hunt for a Northwoods League playoff spot with just two regular-season games remaining. La Crosse needs to win the North Division second-half title to advance. They remain one game behind current leader Willmar and a half game behind Mankato.
The Larks already have a playoff game booked for Monday night at Bismarck Municipal as the North Division first-half champions.
Matt Butler turned in four strong innings on the mound for the Larks to start the game, but things unraveled when they went to the bullpen. Butler allowed just one hit with two walks and three strikeouts and left the game leading 1-0.
Bismarck scored first, getting an unearned run – with Braden Williams touching home plate – off La Crosse pitcher Ted Stutka, who allowed nothing over seven innings otherwise. The Loggers’ right-hander retired the final 13 batters he faced.
Bryce Blaum led off the top of the sixth inning with a solo home run. La Crosse sent 11 more batters to the plate in the frame.
In the seventh, the Loggers batted around again, scoring five times. La Crosse had more walks (10) than hits (8).
Blaum and Austin Murr had two hits each for La Crosse.
Braden Williams delivered a two-run single in the bottom of the ninth inning for the Larks, who host Duluth Saturday night at 6:05 p.m.