For the second night in a row, the Madison Mallards started off a ballgame playing very solid and seemed on the verge of breaking out of their recent slump. Unfortunately, for the second night in a row, the Mallards suffered through an ugly inning and fell apart in losing on Monday night to the St. Cloud River Bats by a score of 5-2 at Warner Park.
After being held without a hit for the final seven innings on Sunday night, the Mallards continued that dubious streak through the first five innings on Monday. But Mallards starter Phillip Martinez held up his end of the bargain and through five innings complete, the game was scoreless.
Then in the sixth, the River Bats broke through on an RBI groundout by third baseman Wes Long to lead 1-0. Madison fought back in the bottom of the inning though.
Shortstop Dominic Ramos reached on a one out error and scored on a base hit by left fielder Erik Johnson to tie the game at one apiece and break the Mallards out of their hitless streak. Then, as happens many times in baseball, center fielder Madison Edwards followed with a base hit.
Third baseman Matt Bose then hit a grounder to Long at third base, but Long booted it and Johnson scored to give the Mallards a 2-1 lead.
Martinez started the seventh by inducing catcher Jason Jaramillo into a groundout to Ramos at shortstop, but first baseman Jaime Martinez dropped the ball and Jaramillo was safe, ending Martinez’s night in favor of J.J. Jackson.
Jackson promptly gave up a base hit to center fielder Joe Gaetti and walked right fielder Jake Smith to load the bases with nobody out. After a strikeout, the play of the game occurred.
Shortstop Ben Quinto tried a suicide squeeze bunt, and it worked better than any of the River Bats could have imagined. The bunt was fielded by Jackson, and he had no play at the plate, so his logical motion was to throw to first. However, nobody covered the base, and Jackson threw the ball anyway. The ball bounded into right field, clearing the bases and giving the River Bats a 4-1.
Quinto then scored on another suicide bunt, this one by left fielder Evan Howard, to expand the River Bats lead to 5-2. The Mallards were held scoreless the rest of the way to lose their seventh game in nine chances.
Phillip Martinez pitched another solid game for the Mallards but failed to crack the win column. He received a no decision for his six innings of work, as he gave up the two runs, though only one earned, on two hits while walking three and striking out three. Jackson (0-3) took the loss, giving up the three unearned runs in the seventh.
J.D. Seger (2-1) pitched the complete game victory for the River Bats. He allowed two unearned runs on five hits while walking three and striking out two.
The Mallards will try to break out of recent slide Tuesday night at 7:05pm in the conclusion of this two game series with the St. Cloud River Bats.