Mallards End Four Game Losing Streak With Great Comeback
With the Madison Mallards down 2-0 in the fifth inning, it looked like the same old story. But before a festive Independence Night crowd of 1627, the Mallards wrote a different ending and came from behind to post a dramatic 3-2 victory over the Alexandria Beetles to end their four game losing streak.
Bill Bernabei made his first start of the season for the Mallards and was simply fantastic. He gave up single runs in the first and fourth innings but for the most part he was dominant for the rest of the evening. He ended up pitching eight innings and allowing the two runs, though only one earned, on six hits while walking only one and striking out three.
Down 2-0, the Mallards started to chip away in the fifth. Catcher Matt Pagnozzi continued his comeback from a horrible slump by opening the inning with a double. He eventually came around to score on a sacrifice fly by center fielder Erik Johnson to make the score 2-1.
Then in the seventh, right fielder Charlie Babineaux led off with a base hit and moved to second base on a sacrifice bunt by Pagnozzi. Shortstop Dominic Ramos then reached base on an error by Beetle second baseman Daniel Mocny to put runners at the corners with only one out. Babineaux then scored on a wild pitch by Beetle starter Cory Hollenhorst to tie the game at two apiece. He escaped further damage however by retiring Mallards second baseman Kyle Anson and right fielder Madison Edwards to end the inning.
After Mark Sopko came in to pitch the ninth in place of Bernabei and retired the side, the Mallards closed the door against Hollenhorst. Pagnozzi had an infield single to open the frame and went to second on a throwing error by Beetle shortstop Grant Zurmely. Ramos then sacrificed Brett Berglund, pinch running for Pagnozzi, to third to chase Hollenhorst.
Against reliever Jesse Ingram, Erik Johnson fouled off many pitches and had a great at bat before playing the heroes role on Heroes Day, lifting a sacrifice fly to deep center field to score Berglund to give the Mallards a 3-2 victory and end their season tying high four game losing streak.
Despite Bernabei’s fantastic game, Mark Sopko picked up the win to move to 2-0 on the season. Hollenhorst (4-1) was the hard luck loser for the Beetles despite giving up only one earned run over 8 1/3 inning.
The Mallards won the game with their bats, collecting nine hits, including two apiece by designated hitter Jaime Martinez, first baseman Matt Bose and Pagnozzi. Their defense played solid as well, committing only a single error. Alexandria was hurt by four errors on the evening.
With the win, the Mallards improved to 10-17 on the season. They start a three game series Friday night in Rochester before returning home for a four game home stand.