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Published On: June 15th, 2002

The Madison Mallards turned the tide on the Brainerd Mighty Gulls Friday night and won 5-4 for their first home victory of the season one night after losing by the same score.
The Mallards and starting pitcher Brady Endl fell behind early. Brainerd first baseman Matt Rebout reached base in the second inning on an error by Mallard right fielder Nick Cadena. He scored on a double by designated hitter John Purdom, who scored on a double by third baseman Ryan Finan to make it 2-0.
The Mallards fought right back in the bottom of the inning. Mike Settle and Tory Haven had back to back singles to lead off the inning, and after Nick Cadena forced out Haven at second, Charlie Babineaux came up and played hero. Babineaux ripped a three-run homer to deep left field to give the Mallards a 3-2 lead. It was Babineaux?s second home run of the young season, tying him for second in the Northwoods League.
In the third inning, Madison Edwards led off with a walk and went to third on a Matt Bose double. Tory Haven then picked an excellent moment to have his first hit, an infield single to score Edwards and give the Mallards a 4-2 lead. After Cadena walked, Babineaux came through again, this time with a bloop double to left to score Haven.
Pitching with a 5-2 lead, Endl could never really get in a groove. He gave up single runs in the fifth and sixth innings and left after six leading 5-4. But he definitely pitched good enough to win. In picking up his second win of the season, Endl gave up four runs, though only two earned, on four hits while striking out two batters.
Mark Sopko pitched two strong innings of relief for the Mallards to hold the slim lead. Sopko, an Arizona State product who just arrived in Madison hours before the game, gave up a hit and a walk in his two innings of work.
As always, the Mallards made it interesting in the ninth. Dominic Ramos, the everyday shortstop, made his first pitching appearance of the season. He opened the ninth by hitting Mighty Gull shortstop Tyson Hanish, the number nine hitter, on his first pitch. But after a sacrifice, Ramos settled down and escaped the jam with a strikeout and a groundout to end the game and earn his first save of the season.
The Mallards played sloppy defense for the second straight night, committing three errors that led to two unearned runs. But the Mallards rebounded with great relief pitching and a strong finish to move to 3-5 on the season.
Devin Thomas (0-1) took the loss for the Mighty Gulls, who fell to 4-4 on the season. Once the rains stayed away, a festive crowd of 1,084 enjoyed the festivities of Madison Muskies turn back the clock night.
The Mallards look for two in a row on Saturday night against the Mankato Moon Dogs. Game time is set for 7:05PM.