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Mallards Press for Postseason

The game was not a ‘must win’ for the Madison Mallards (17-17, 36-33), but with Lakeshore out to a two-and-a-half game lead on the Mallards in the South Division race, time was running out on Madison. In a critical game, the Mallards pulled out a dominant 11-2 win over the Wisconsin Woodchucks (9-25, 24-45) at Athletic Park.

The game started out with two flawless frames from the starting pitchers Steve Gavin (Edgewood) for Madison and Wisconsin’s Lucas Hall. The silence wouldn’t last long however, as Madison posted two runs in the second inning. After the two in the second, the Mallards scored runs in each of the next three innings.

The Wisconsin pitching staff struggled to throw strikes through the entire game, and ended up walking 13 Mallards. Four of those walks came with the bases loaded to force runs in. Four of Madison’s first five runs came in to score via the walk. Doran Turchin (Illinois), Andrew Baker (Florida), Maverick Handley (Stanford), and Thomas Smart (Illinois-Chicago) all drew multiple walks, Baker and Smart working three free passes.

Madison wasn’t just handed all of their runs, however. They ripped 11 base knocks on the day to put constant pressure on the Woodchuck pitchers. Cole Daily (Notre Dame) managed three base-hits without hitting a ball out of the infield. The speedster beat out three infield grounders to frustrate the Wisconsin defense.

Daily was able to sneak his way on base, but his teammates weren’t quite so subtle. In the fourth inning, Turchin smashed his 12th home run of the season over the left field wall to put Madison up 6-2. The Mallards also slammed four doubles on the day with one each from Tommy Bullock (UNC-Charlotte), David Vinsky (Northwood), Baker, and Handley.

Steve Gavin gave Madison the start they needed. The right-hander worked six innings, striking out four, and gave up eight hits in his first appearance on the mound as a Mallard. Gavin used his curveball to great effectiveness, throwing his breaking ball almost more than his fastball. The only blemish on Gavin’s scorecard was a two-run home run from Wisconsin’s Michael Ferri in the bottom of the second inning to tie the game at 2-2.

With a Madison win tonight and two Lakeshore losses at the hands of Battle Creek, the Mallards are only one game behind the Chinooks for the fourth and final playoff spot in the South Division. Madison will look to gain even more ground tomorrow for game two against the Woodchucks at 7:05 PM CST at Athletic Park. Listen in to all the action live on 106.7 FM and 1670 AM The ZONE.