The Madison Mallards continue to find new ways to lose, and Thursday night was no exception as they were outplayed in all facets of the game and fell to the Wisconsin Woodchucks 6-2 before a crowd of 1,560 at historic Athletic Park in Wausau, Wisconsin. The loss was Madison?s fourth straight and brought the Mallards record to a season low 19 games under .500 (7-20 in the second half, 20-39 overall).
After an eventful first inning in which Mallard starting pitcher Michael Koehler threw his opening pitch over the stadium, the Woodchucks struck first with two runs in the second on an RBI single by left fielder Matt Bush and an RBI double by first baseman Dave Pudlosky.
The Mallards came back in the top of the third as catcher Lucas Koenig walked and scored on an error by Bush after a single by third baseman David Hrncirik to cut the lead in half at 2-1. But Wisconsin answered right back with single runs in the third and fourth innings on an RBI single by second baseman Ryan Sullivan and Pudlosky?s second RBI of the night, a single to score catcher Sean Patrick to put the Woodchucks up three at 4-1.
Madison scored the second run in the fifth as right fielder Nick Cadena led off with a base hit and scored on an error Sullivan to make it 4-2, but that would be as close as the Mallards would get the rest of the night. They loaded the bases with two out in the top of the sixth, but Wisconsin starting pitcher Paul Schappert escaped damage by getting Mallards center fielder Madison Edwards to pop up to end the threat.
The Woodchucks then put it away with two runs in the sixth off Mallards reliever Bernie Minjares. A sacrifice fly by Pudlosky and an infield single by third baseman Tyler Scarborough that scored Patrick, who earlier walked, gave the Woodchucks the final margin of victory at 6-2.
The Mallards were led on offense by Cadena and left fielder Jaime Martinez who both had two hits in the game. Martinez was on base four times on the night.
Koehler took the loss to fall to 0-3 on the season. He went five innings, giving up seven hits and four runs while walking two and striking out three. Schappert pitched six innings for the Woodchucks to earn the win and improve to 2-2 on the season. Mark Lowe pitched the final three innings for Wisconsin and allowed only two walks total to earn his first save of the season.
The Mallards were again hurt by their defense as well, as they created four errors on the night which led to two unearned runs, both against Minjares. He pitched really well otherwise, allowing three hits and two walks in his three innings of work.
With the loss on the road, the Mallards ended their road season at 10-22 overall. Madison returns home starting tonight for five straight games to end the 2002 season. They will play the Waterloo Bucks for three games before concluding the season with a two game series against the Rochester Honkers.