Published On: March 16th, 2012

Madison, WI – The Madison Mallards have announced the signing of junior right-handed pitcher Justin Topa from Long Island University and sophomore right-handed pitcher Brandon Barker [pictured] from Mercer University.

Topa, a 6’4”, 190 pound pitcher from Binghamton, New York will join the Mallards after his third season at Long Island University.  In 2011, Topa compiled a 6-7 record with a 4.46 ERA while making 14 appearances, including 11 starts before an injury cut his season short.  Topa was scheduled to join the Mallards in 2011 but could not after the injury.  During his freshman season Topa was 6-6 with a 4.67 ERA while striking out 66 batters.

“I believe that Justin is a front of the rotation guy for us this summer,” said Mallards Manager Greg Labbe.  “He can pitch in the low-90’s and has great command of two very good off-speed pitches. I know he is going to be hungry to get to Madison and make an impact.”

Topa attended Chenango Valley High School and led the team to a Sectional 4 Class B Championship in 2008 and 2009.  He was named First-Team All-Southern Tier Athletic Conference and Third-Team All-State in 2009.  He is studying Business Management at Long Island.

Barker, a 6’3”, 190 pound sophomore from Woodstock, Georgia is set to be a solid contributor to the Mallards pitching staff in 2012.  In Barker’s freshman season at Mercer he earned a perfect 4-0 record and 3.38 ERA while making 20 appearances for the Bears.  He also struck out 51 batters in 53.1 innings of work.  After the season Barker was named to the Atlantic-Sun All-Freshman Team.

“Brandon was one of the best freshman arms in the Atlantic-Sun last year and his start to this year has been solid,” said Labbe.  “I know the experience he is getting pitching in the weekend rotation for Mercer will help us win a championship this summer in Madison.”

Barker went to Etowah High School where he led the Titans to back-to-back GHSA 5-AAAAA Regional Championships in 2009 and 2010.  He was a 5-AAAAA All-Region First-Team selection each of those years.  He graduated high school with high honors and a perfect 4.0 GPA.  He is studying Engineering at Mercer.

The Mallards will host their season opener against the Battle Creek Bombers on May 30th at 7:05 pm at the "Duck Pond."  7-Game Packs, season, and group tickets are on sale now! Single-game tickets go on sale April 28th.

The Madison Mallards are part of the 16-team Northwoods League.  The Northwoods League has more teams, plays more games, and draws more fans than any other Summer Collegiate Baseball League in North America.

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