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In a back and forth contest that featured four ties and three lead changes, the Madison Mallards finally fell on Thursday night to the St. Cloud River Bats by a score of 7-5 in ten innings before a crowd of 1,499 at Warner Park.
With the score tied at five in the tenth, Mallard reliever Phillip Martinez walked River Bat right fielder Jake Smith to open the frame. After Smith was sacrificed over, second baseman Chris Jensen came up with the big hit of the night, an RBI single to give the River Bats a 6-5 lead. The hit chased Martinez, who was making his first relief appearance of the season and fell to 0-6 overall.
Then the River Bats added insurance off new pitcher Bill Bernabei. St. Cloud designated hitter Mike Mileusnic blooped a single to right to score Jensen and make the score 7-5. The Mallards fought back in the bottom of the tenth though.
St. Cloud reliever David Sharfstein hit catcher Matt Pagnozzi and walked shortstop Dominic Ramos to open up the frame and was replaced by Thomas Diamond. After a sacrifice, Diamond walked right fielder Nick Cadena intentionally to load the bases with only one out. But Diamond escaped the game by inducing a double play from second baseman Brett Berglund to end the game.
Mike Johnston started for the Mallards and went 6 1/3 innings, giving up three earned runs on nine hits while striking out four and not walking a batter. Mike Springsteen came in relief and gave up two unearned runs in 1 1/3 innings.
Martinez gave up the two runs in the tenth to take the loss. He gave up five hits and walked a batter in only 1 2/3 innings, but many of the hits were little bloopers that found the right holes.
Sharfstein picked up the win for the River Bats to improve to 2-1 on the season. Diamond picked up his first save of the season.
The back and forth contest had many controversial plays and interesting subplots, such as a near bench clearing brawl, interference calls or non-interference calls and missing bases. The game also featured four errors to go along with two hit batters. The Mallards were really hurt though by their inability to hit in the clutch, as they left 13 men on base.
The hitting stars for the Mallards were shortstop Dominic Ramos, who was 3-3 with two doubles and two walks to reach base five times on the night. Left fielder Erik Johnson was also 3-5 with two RBI’s for the Mallards, who fell to 2-5 in the second half and 15-24 overall.
The Mallards try to split this short home and home series with the River Bats tomorrow night in St. Cloud before returning home for a siz game home stand.

Published On: July 19th, 2002